HBO & Michael Jackson's estates are in full legal battle mode.
Hollywood Reporter shared an update on the plethora of lawsuits currently launched by Michael Jackson's estate since the formulation of the Leaving Neverland documentary. According to the news outlet, Michael Jackson's Estate had sued HBO right before Leaving Neverland aired on screens. The motion was supported by the claim that the television network was breaching the non-defamation clause of a 27-year old agreement wherein the network was paid to air a concert tied to Jackson's Dangerous album. As such, the Jackson heirs wished to invoke an arbitration clause within the dated deal which would once again make it valid to snag HBO. In response, the network moved the case from the state to the federal courts and called out the deal as outdated.
HBO stated that Michael Jackson's Estate legal motion was a "transparent effort to bolster their publicity campaign against the documentary" by bringing back a precedent cause and tying it to posthumous disparagement. Moreover, the network assured that there were no existing valid contracts impacting Leaving Neverland. As such, HBO's lawyers argued for a federal judge to determine the "gateway issues of validity and arbitrability." An act, Michael Jackson's estate called "classic tautology." In the end, the judge denied two motions set forth by Jackson's Estate. Namely, the motion to remand the case back to the state courts and the ability to compel arbitration.
The latter served as a win to HBO, but U.S. District Court Judge George H. Wu called for both parties to bring in evidence on the issue of arbitration. We expect more information on this later.