Michael Jackson Estate Sued Over ‘Messages to Michael’
Michael Jackson‘s estate is being sued by Sharad Chandra Patel, a producer for the tribute film Messages to Michael, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
In the suit, filed Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court, Patel alleges his deceased son and friend of Jackson, producer Raju Patel, had a film company with Jackson called Neverland Entertainment and that a 2002 contract details that all proceeds from their films were to be split equally.
Messages to Michael is said to have been a film Jackson wanted to make for his dedicated fans that stuck by him after he was charged with child molestation in 2003; he was acquitted two years later. A 2005 contract signed three months before Raju died of cancer stated that Raju and Jackson would make the film, which was “a tribute to Michael and his loyal fans.” The contract specifies that Raju could appoint a nominee to make the film with Jackson “or his nominee,” and allegedly Sharad was granted the designation by his son before he died.
Sharad alleges he’s been requesting access to Jackson’s music and other items to make the film, but that estate executors John Branca and John McClain, have not allowed it. The estate instead made the 2009 documentary, This Is It, in partnership with Sony Pictures.
Patel filed a creditor’s claim in 2010 against the state, which was denied on September 3. Per THR, the new suit states “Sharad is seeking access to pre-existing materials, including music rights and home video footage, promised under the agreement now owned by Michael’s estate for use in the film.”
Jackson’s estate has also recently been in the news due to its discussions with Sony ATV, the music catalog that Jackson bought in 1985. The parties are working out terms for whether the catalog will belong fully to the estate or if the estate will sell its own half back to Sony Corp.