Michael Jackson Letter Won't Resuscitate Case
WASHINGTON (CN) - Though she unearthed a letter from the grave, Michael Jackson's former manager cannot revive her $44 million lawsuit, the D.C. Circuit ruled.
The King of Pop had retained Davis, Bain & Associates in December 2003, with Raymone Bain serving as his spokeswoman, publicist and general manager.
Bain allegedly oversaw "damage control" for Jackson during his 2005 trial on child-molestation charges but found herself on the outs after she brought him back from the brink of foreclosure in late 2007.
Two months after Jackson announced a series of comeback concerts called "This Is It" in March 2009, Bain filed suit for her 10 percent. The $44 million complaint in Washington also sought payment for arranging the 25th anniversary edition of Jackson's best-selling album "Thriller."
Jackson's plans for a full, worldwide tour ultimately never came to pass, however, as the 50-year-old died of an overdose on June 25, 2009.
One week before his death, Jackson and MJJ Productions had moved to dismiss Bain's complaint on the basis of a December 2007 document Jackson and Bain signed in which Bain relinquished any claims against Jackson and his business entities.
A federal judge agreed in May 2010 that the release precluded Bain's claim and granted the defendants summary judgment.
Bain nevertheless moved for reconsideration that October, claiming to have just discovered an April 2008 letter from Jackson to Bain, in which Jackson said he had no awareness of, and had never signed, the December 2007 release agreement.
Bain said she had only discovered the letter in August 2010 when a consultant for Michael Jackson Co. returned it among a box of files taken from her office.
Finding that Bain still knew about the letter in April 2008, however, the District Court said it could not be labeled "newly discovered evidence."
The court said Bain had failed to exercise due diligence in retrieving the letter and denied her request for relief under Rule 60(b)(2).
A three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit affirmed Tuesday because there was "no abuse of discretion."
The 13-page ruling says Bain "offers no justification for her failure to mention the 2008 letter to the District Court, to seek the court's assistance in locating a copy, or to ask the defendants for any copy in their possession."
"Nor does she suggest that any such efforts to locate the letter could not have borne fruit," Judge Sri Srinivasan wrote for the court.
In June 2011, Bain pleaded guilty to two counts of failure to file tax returns, defrauding the government of at least $200,000.
Jackson's doctor, Conrad Murray, was convicted that same year of involuntary manslaughter and given down the maximum sentence of four years in jail.
At sentencing, LA County Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor said Murray had "absolutely no sense of remorse" and "remains a danger to society."