(CN) – A federal judge in Manhattan dismissed most of a $300 million lawsuit accusing Michael Jackson’s proported ex-manager and AEG, the promoter of Jackson’s “This Is It” tour, of cutting another promoter out of a deal to produce the return concert for the King of Pop.
AllGood Entertainment sued Frank Dileo, Jackson’s alleged manger, along with Dileo Entertainment, AEG and the special administrators of Jackson’s estate, John Branca and John McClain.
U.S. District Judge Harold Baer Jr. dismissed claims for fraud and tortious interference with contract but allowed a claim for breach of contract to proceed. Trial is set for October.
AllGood claims it had a binding agreement with the pop star’s management in which it would produce his first concert tour in years or a Jackson Family reunion concert featuring Michael, Janet and others.
Dileo allegedly signed a deal with AllGood for a concert tentatively titled “The Jackson Family Reunion: A Concert for the World,” in consideration for $24 million. Another $2 million went to Dileo Entertainment as a partial payment, AllGood said.
Michael Jackson died in June 2009 in his Los Angeles home of a drug overdose while preparing for a series of comeback concerts in London, which were going to be produced by AEG.
Dileo allegedly told AllGood CEO Patrick Allocco that he was Michael Jackson’s manager and “could make the [e]vent a reality.” Dileo said that he already spoke to Jackson about the idea and that the pop star was “very interested.”
Dileo represented that he had “the power to bind [Michael] Jackson and/or the Jackson Family to an agreement requiring them to perform,” the lawsuit claims.
After a deal was signed, AllGood claims, it learned Jackson and Dileo “secretly teamed up” with the AEG Defendants to produce a concert or series of concerts in London, along with “perhaps” a pay-per-view Jackson Family reunion event.
AllGood asserts that “AEG knew of a deal between Dileo and AllGood, but due to ‘dominance and power in the live performance industry, coerced and/or induced Dileo and Jackson to disregard the agreements with AllGood and to work with it instead,'” according to the lawsuit.
Judge Baer wasn’t fully convinced.
“The Dileo defendants make a strong showing, based on the plain language of the contract, that the binding agreement is merely an agreement to agree and should not be construed as an enforceable contract,” Baer wrote. “The document itself states that it is a ‘letter of intent.'”
Baer noted that “the location of the performance is not listed and a number of the conditions are at best vaguely described or set to be negotiated at a later date,” the ruling states.
The contract required some sort of “written confirmation” from Michael Jackson and possibly the Jackson family as well, according to the judge.
But Baer said there was “sufficient factual ambiguity that it would not be appropriate to dismiss as matter of law at the pleading state.”
AllGood argued that the deal was not an “agreement to agree” but an enforceable contract.”While I am highly skeptical that this in fact amounts to a complete and enforceable agreement, any judgment about the meaning of this ambiguous agreement necessarily requires an inquiry into the actual facts and is better suited for a motion after discovery or a jury,” the judge concluded.