Looks like it’ll still be some more years before the King of Pop can finally Rest In Peace. Dating back to 2012, Michael Jackson’s manager, Tohme Tohme, claims that he’s owed a fifteen percent (15%) share of gross receipts received by the estate (over $310 million) after Jackson’s death along with a ten percent (10%) finder’s fee for a loan for Neverland Ranch.
Jackson’s estate claims Tohme was an inexperienced, self-serving manager who was fired by the pop star icon months prior to his death. The California Labor Commission investigated claims that Tohme violated the Talent Agencies Act, by acting as an agent in his role as manager. California law has very specific rules and requirements for agents and non-agents are not permitted to do the work of agents without being heavily penalized. The California Labor Commission invalidated portions of Jackson’s management agreement with Tohme, which would effectively decrease Tohme’s management share in half.
Tohme filed a motion to strike regarding attorney’s fees that Tohme feels he is entitled to based on indemnity language in the management agreement. Jackson’s estate argues the indemnity clause only applies to instances where Tohme is defending against third party claims related to the power of attorney. Tohme is attempting to use this clause in his underlying case against the Jackson estate as if the estate is the third party he is attempting to defend against on behalf of Jackson. Too bad Jackson’s estate is defending on behalf of Jackson.
The court allowed for the estate’s motion to strike but gave Tohme permission to amend his complaint, which effectively gives him another bite at the apple in alleging this claim for a share of gross receipts.
Trial is set to start in May.
Lerae Funderburg, Esq. is the Managing Attorney at Funderburg Law, LLC, an Atlanta based entertainment law firm. Lerae has almost 10 years of experience in entertainment law in both music law and film law. As an entertainment lawyer and blogger, Lerae keeps her viewers and subscribers up to date with entertainment law news, especially in the areas of music, copyright law and trademark law. If you are local to Atlanta, call and set up a consultation! She would love to hear from you!