SUPERIOR COURT OF CALIFORNIA, COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES

DATE: 01/31/17 DEPT. WEM

HONORABLE MITCHELL L. BECKLOFF D. SALISBURY DEPUTY CLERK
A. FRASER, C/A
da
HONORABLE JUDGE PRO TEM ELECTRONIC RECORDING MONITOR

NONE Deputy Sheriff~~ NONE Reporter

8:30 am BC545264 Plaintiff
Counsel
JAMES SAFECHUCK NO APPEARANCES
VS Defendant
ily
MJJ PRODUCTIONS, INC., ET AL Counsel

NATURE OF PROCEEDINGS:
m
Ruling on Submitted Matter;
Demurrer to Second Amended Complaint (SAC)

Having considered the papers and arguments of
counsel further, the court now finds/orders as
ich
follows:
The demurrer is sustained in its entirety with 15
days leave to amend. The court finds leave to amend
is appropriate given plaintiff substantially revised
his theory of the case in his SAC and these new
legal theories until now had not been tested by
demurrer.

The exception contained in Code of Civil Procedure
ae
section 340.1, subd. (b)(2) requires an entity
defendant to have the ability to "take reasonable
steps, and to implement reasonable safeguards" to
protect children from unlawful sexual conduct. The
circumstances here are unusual in that the defendant
corporations were 100 percent owned by Michael
Jackson at the time the abuse is alleged to have
occurred. As alleged in the SAC, Michael Jackson was
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the "president/owner" of the defendant corporations.
There is no allegation in the SAC that anyone other
than Michael Jackson actually controlled the
defendant corporations and/or controlled Michael
Jackson. Paragraphs of the SAC that discuss
employees of the defendant corporations do not
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MINUTES ENTERED
Page 1 of 10 DEPT. WEM 01/31/17
COUNTY CLERK
SUPERIOR COURT OF CALIFORNIA, COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES

DATE: O 1/31/17 DEPT. WEM

HONORABLE MITCHELL L. BECKLOFF D. SALISBURY DEPUTY CLERK
A. FRASER, C/A
da
HONORABLE JUDGE PRO TEM ELECTRONIC RECORDING MONITOR

NONE Deputy Sheriff~~ NONE Reporter

8:30 am BC545264 Plaintiff
Counsel
JAMES SAFECHUCK NO APPEARANCES
VS Defendant
MJJ PRODUCTIONS, INC., ET AL
ily
Counsel

NATURE OF PROCEEDINGS:
m
suggest any of those employees of the corporation
had the ability to "take reasonable steps, and to
implement reasonable safeguards" to protect children
from unlawful sexual conduct. Jolie Levine, Marino
Quindoy, Norma Staikos, Blanca Francia and Orietta
Murdock are not alleged to have control over Michael
ich
Jackson.
The court recognizes on nearly identical allegations
in Robson v. MJJ Productions, Inc. et al., Case No.
508502, plaintiff Robson's Third Amended Complaint
(Robson TAC) survived demurrer. Paragraph 49 in the
SAC is almost identical to paragraph 29 in the TAC.
Additionally, paragraphs 3 and 4 in the SAC are
substantially similar to paragraphs 5 and 6 in the
TAC.
ae
While the court's ruling herein appears inconsistent
with its ruling on the demurrer to the Robson TAC,
there are distinct differences between the SAC and
Robson TAC and the defendant corporations' arguments
on the demurrers in the two cases. Those differences
contribute to the different result in this case.
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While Robson alleged a general negligence claim, he
did not allege - as plaintiff does here - negligent
supervision, retention/hiring and failure to
warn/train. In the context of those specific
negligence claims, the concept of authority and
ability to control is more acute. Further, the
defendant corporations cited this court to
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MINUTES ENTERED
Page 2 of 10 DEPT. WEM 01/31/17
COiJNTY CLERK
SUPERIOR COURT OF CALIFORNIA, COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES

DATE: 01/31/17 DEPT. WEM

HONORABLE MITCHELL L. BECKLOFF JUDGE D. SALISBURY DEPUTY CLERK
A. FRASER, C/A
da
HONORABLE JUDGE PRO TEM ELECTRONIC RECORDING MONITOR

NONE Depury Sheriff NONE Reporter

8:30 am BC545264 Plaintiff
counsel
JAMES SAFECHUCK NO APPEARANCES
VS Defendant
ily
MJJ PRODUCTIONS, INC., ET AL Counsel

NATURE OF PROCEEDINGS:
m
authorities that specifically undermine the notion
of authority and ability to control unlike with
Robson's TAC. Footnote four in the demurrer provides
statutory authority that the defendant corporations
as a matter of law did not have the ability or
authority to hire, fire or supervise their sole
ich
shareholder/owner/president. The court also finds
the language of Coit Draper Cleaners, Inc. v.
Sequoia Ins. Co. (1993) 14 Ca1.App.4th 1595, 1605
instructive on the issue. The court appreciates that
the underlying dispute in Coit is inapposite.
Nonetheless, the court is Coit recognizes a
corporation's lack of ability to control its
majority shareholder.

The court addresses the specific causes of action as
ae
follows:
Intentional Infliction of Emotion Distress Cause of
Action 1
This claim appears to be a direct action against the
defendant corporations. (See paragraph 123.) Any
direct claim is time barred Code of Civil Procedure
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section 340.1, subd. (b)(1).
Moreover, as argued by defendants, paragraph 122
alleges that the defendant corporations were
"incapable of supervising and preventing" sexual
abuse. The exception contained in Code of Civil
Procedure section 340.1, subd. (b)(2) requires a
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MINUTES ENTERED
Page 3 of 10 DEPT. WEM 01/31/17
COUNTY CLERK
SUPERIOR COURT OF CALIFORNIA, COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES

DATE: O 1~ 31~ 17 DEPT. WEM

HONORABLE MITCHELL L. BECKLOFF JUDGE D. SALISBURY DEPUTY CLERK
A. FR.ASER, C/A
da
HONORABLE JUDGE PRO TEM ELECTRONIC RECORDING MONITOR

NONE Deputy Sheriff NONE Reporter

8:30 am BC545264 Plaintiff
Counsel
JAMES SAFECHUCK NO APPEARANCES
VS Defendant
MJJ PRODUCTIONS, INC., ET AL Counsel
ily
NATURE OF PROCEEDINGS:
m
defendant's ability to implement safeguards to
prevent child sexual abuse.
Negligence Cause of Action 2
Plaintiff has not alleged a duty between defendant
ich
corporations and plaintiff. While paragraph 103 of
the SAC alleges that the defendant corporations
stood in loco parentis to plaintiff. That legal
conclusion is not binding on the court. The
allegations in paragraph 8 suggest that the
defendant corporations hired Michael Jackson to
teach, mentor and coach children. Paragraph 8 also
contains allegations unrelated to teaching,
mentoring and coaching. The duties alleged in
paragraph 117 seem geared toward a school or youth
ae
program. It is unclear whether plaintiff is alleging
that the defendant corporations were providing some
sort of youth program thereby creating a special
relationship.

Plaintiff has not pled ultimate facts supporting his
conclusion that plaintiff was "placed in the
physical custody, control, and dominion of"
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defendant corporations. (See paragraph 113.) The
SAC alleges plaintiff was placed in the defendant
corporations control while staying in Michael
Jackson various residences, the facts alleged
suggest that Michael Jackson invited plaintiff and
plaintiff was, at times, in Michael Jackson's care,
custody and control. Moreover, plaintiff alleges
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MINUTES ENTERED
Page 4 of 10 DEPT. WEM 01/31/17
COUNTY CLERK
SUPERIOR COURT OF CALIFORNIA, COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES

DATE: Ol/31/17 DEPT. WEM

HONORABLE MITCHELL L. BECKLOFF D. SALISBURY DEPUTY CLERK
A. FRASER, C/A
da
HONORABLE JUDGE PRO TEM ELECTRONIC RECORDING MONITOR

NONE Deputy Sheriff NONE Reporter

8:30 am BC545264 Plaintiff
Counsel
JAMES SAFECHUCK NO APPEARANCES
VS Defendant
ily
MJJ PRODUCTIONS, INC., ET AL Counsel

NATURE OF PROCEEDINGS:
m
that his parents were also present, at times, such
that plaintiff would have been in his parent's
custody and control. The fact that the defendant
corporations made travel arrangements for plaintiff
and his family and paid for those expenses, the
factual allegations do not support the conclusion
ich
that plaintiff was in the care, custody and control
of defendant corporations such that they owed him a
duty. Where there was no special relationship, no
duty to warn arose.
Additionally, as to the negligence per se claim,
nothing supports plaintiff's claim that the
defendant corporations were mandated reporters.

Negligent Supervision Cause of Action 3
ae
As noted by defendants, a negligent supervision
claim necessarily requires a plaintiff to "show that
a person in a supervisorial position over the actor
had prior knowledge of the actor's propensity to do
the bad act." (Z.V. v. County of Riverside (2015)
238 Ca1.App.4th 889, 902.) The pleadings fail to
allege a specific person in a supervisorial position
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over Michael Jackson.
Defendants' Exhibits A and B establish plaintiff's
admission that Michael Jackson was the 100 percent
shareholder for both defendant corporations.
Plaintiff admits as much and accepts that Michael
Jackson exercised control over all corporate
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MINUTES ENTERED
Page 5 of 10 DEPT. WEM 01/31/17
COUNTY CLERK
SUPERIOR COURT OF CALIFORNIA, COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES

DATE: O 1~ 31~ 17 DEPT. WEM

HONORABLE MITCHELL L. BECKLOFF JUDGE D. SALISBURY DEPUTY CLERK
A. FRASER, C/A
da
HONORABLE JUDGE PRO TEM ELECTRONIC RECORDING MONITOR

NONE Deputy Sheriff NONE Reporter

8:30 am BC545264 Plaintiff
Counsel
JAMES SAFECHUCK NO APPEARANCES
VS Defendant
Counsel
ily
MJJ PRODUCTIONS, INC. ~ ET AL

NATURE OF PROCEEDINGS:
m
activities. Plaintiff's paragraphs 3 and 4 set forth
allegations that Michael Jackson was the
~~president/owner and a representative/agent" of both
defendant corporations. Thus, the pleadings suggest
that defendant corporations were controlled by
Michael Jackson.
ich
As noted earlier herein, plaintiff does not plead
that defendants had control over Michael Jackson.
(See Coit Draper Cleaners, Inc. v. Sequoia Ins. Co.
(1993) 14 Ca1.App.4th 1595, 1605 ["there was no way
Coit, the corporate entity, could have disciplined
or supervised its president, chairman of the board,
and major shareholder ."].)

Paragraph 110 does not plead ultimate facts
ae
regarding control; the paragraph does not factually
allege control. Instead, the SAC asserts a
conclusion: "Despite the authority and ability to
do so The court properly disregards
conclusions in pleadings at demurrer. (Popescu v.
Apple Inc. (2016) 1 Ca1.App.5th 39, 50.)

While plaintiff has pleaded Jolie Levine was a
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managing agent of the defendant corporations,
plaintiff does not allege Ms. Levine was Michael
Jackson's supervisor or had the ability to control
him. Plaintiff's authority generally concerning
managing agents does not establish control over
Michael Jackson under these facts. Moreover, the SAC
does not allege that Ms. Levine had knowledge that
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MINUTES ENTERED
Page 6 of 10 DEPT. WEM 01/31/17
COUNTY CLERK
SUPERIOR COURT OF CALIFORNIA, COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES

DATE: 01~31~I.~J DEPT. WEM

HONORABLE MITCHELL L. BECKLOFF D. SALISBURY DEPUTY CLERK
A. FR.ASER, C/A
da
HONORABLE JUDGE PRO TEM ELECTRONIC RECORDING MONITOR

NONE Deputy Sheriff~l NONE Reporter

8:30 am BC545264 Plaintiff
counsel
JAMES SAFECHUCK NO APPEARANCES
VS Defendant
ily
MJJ PRODUCTIONS, INC., ET AL Counsel

NATURE OF PROCEEDINGS:
m
Michael Jackson was sexually abusing children.
(Contrary to plaintiff's opposition at page 6, the
SAC at paragraph 13 does not alleged Ms. Levine
"operated in concert with Michael Jackson to procure
children to be sexually abused, while being groomed
as future entertainers/performers." Paragraph 31 of
ich
the SAC does not specifically identify Ms. Levine as
a "procurer" of children.)
Negligent Retention/Hiring Cause of Action 4

This cause of action raises issues similar to those
with the negligent supervision claim. Plaintiff
recognizes that Michael Jackson was the 100 percent
shareholder, president and owner of the defendant
corporations. Plaintiff does not allege that the
ae
defendant corporations hired or retained Michael
Jackson. Allegations that defendant corporations
could effectively hire and retain Michael Jackson
are conclusory.

Negligent Failure to Warn Cause of Action 5

As with the negligent supervision and
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hiring/retention cause of action, Michael Jackson
was the 100 percent shareholder, president and owner
of the defendant corporations. There is no direct
allegation that Ms. Levine, an alleged managing
agent, had knowledge that Michael Jackson allegedly
sexually molested children. If the defendant
corporations owed no duty to plaintiff, they would
om

MINUTES ENTERED
Page 7 of 10 DEPT. WEM 01/31/17
COUNTY CLERK
SUPERIOR COURT OF CALIFORNIA, COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES

DATE: 01/31/17 DEPT. WEM

HONORABLE MITCHELL L. BECKLOFF D. SALISBURY DEPUTY CLERK
A. FRASER, C/A
da
HONORABLE JUDGE PRO TEM ELECTRONIC RECORDING MONITOR

NONE Deputy NONE Reporter

8:30 am BC545264 Plaintiff
Counsel
JAMES SAFECHUCK NO APPEARANCES
VS Defendant
MJJ PRODUCTIONS, INC., ET AL Counsel
ily
NATURE OF PROCEEDINGS:
m
have had no duty to warn.
Breach of Fiduciary Duty Cause of Action 6
Plaintiff has not alleged sufficient facts to
establish a fiduciary duty existed between plaintiff
ich
and defendant corporations. Paragraph 169 pleads
mere conclusions with no facts - facts which would
necessarily be in plaintiff's possession. Plaintiff
must plead that the defendant corporations knowingly
and voluntarily undertook to act on behalf of
plaintiff.
Additionally, while paragraph 171 alleges a breach
of fiduciary duty by the defendant corporations for
"failing to take any reasonable steps or implement
ae
any reasonable safeguards to protect plaintiff" from
Michael Jackson, the SAC does not allege who other
than Michael Jackson had control over the defendant
corporations. Paragraph 49 suggests that Noram
Staikos had some control over Michael Jackson but
does not suggest Ms. Staikos had control over MJJ
Productions such that she could have required MJJ
Productions to take action on plaintiff's behalf.
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The court's earlier discussion concerning control is
equally applicable here.
The clerk shall give notice.
CLERK'S CERTIFICATE OF MAILING
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MINUTES ENTERED
Page 8 of 10 DEPT. WEM 01/31/17
COUNTY CLERK
SUPERIOR COURT OF CALIFORNIA, COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES

DATE: O 1~ 31~ 17 DEPT. WEM

HONORABLE MITCHELL L. BECKLOFF D. SALISBURY DEPUTY CLERK
A. FRASER, C/A
da
HONORABLE JUDGE PRO TEM ELECTRONIC RECORDING MONITOR

NONE Deputy Sheriff NONE Reporter

8:30 am BC545264 Plaintiff
Counsel
JAMES SAFECHUCK NO APPEARANCES
VS Defendant
ily
MJJ PRODUCTIONS, INC., ET AL Counsel

KATURE OF PROCEEDINGS:
m
I, the below-named Executive Officer/Clerk of the
above -entitled court, do hereby certify that I am
not a party to the cause herein, and that on this
date I served the ruling on submitted matter
upon each party or counsel named below by placing
ich
the document for collection and mailing so as to
cause it to be deposited in the United States mail
at the courthouse in Santa Monica,
California, one copy of the original filed/entered
herein in a separate sealed envelope to each address
as shown below with the postage thereon fully prepaid,
in accordance with standard court practices.

Dated: January 31, 2017
ae
Sherri R. Carter, Executive Officer/Clerk

By: D. Salisbury
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Vince W. Finaldy, Esq.
Manly, Stewart & Finaldi
19100 Von Karman Avenue
Suite 800
Irvine, CA 92612
Jonathan Steinsapir, Esq.
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MINUTES ENTERED
Page 9 of 10 DEPT. WEM 01/31/17
COUNTY CLERK
SUPERIOR COURT OF CALIFORNIA, COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES

DATE: O 1/31/17 DEPT. WEM

HONORABLE MITCHELL L. BECKLOFF D. SALISBURY DEPUTY CLERK
A. FR.ASER, C/A
da
HONORABLE JUDGE PRO TEM ELECTRONIC RECORDING MONITOR

NONE Deputy Sheriff NONE Reporter

8:30 am BC545264 Plaintiff
Counsel
JAMES SAFECHUCK NO APPEARANCES
VS Defendant
ily
MJJ PRODUCTIONS, INC., ET AL Counsel

NATURE OF PROCEEDINGS:
m
Kinsella Weitzman et al.
808 Wilshire Boulevard, Third Floor
Santa Monica, CA 90401
ich
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Page 10 of 10 DEPT. WEM 01/31/17
COUNTY CLERK