Judge Ronald Sohigian, allowed Richard LaPointe’s case against the cancellation of the Julien House Auction in 2009, to proceed to trial. The auction, which would have been the largest authorized sale of items associated with Michael, was canceled in April 2009, after Michael reached a legal settlement with Julien’s Auction House. Michael died two months later at the age of fifty.
The one thousand, four hundred items that were to be auctioned off included Michael’s large collection of antiques, decorative arts, costumes, music awards and other items that were once in his Neverland mansion, in Santa Barbara County.
The decision by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ronald Sohigian means a jury will decide Richard LaPointe’s causes of action for alleged intentional infliction, of contractual relations and breach of contract against Julien’s Auction House and Michael’s Estate, said plaintiff’s attorney Andrew Krastins. The allegations eliminated by the judge included negligent interference with contractual relations, Krastins said.
Krastins hailed the ruling, saying it means his client can seek punitive damages and that Michael’s executors may have to reveal the extent of the Estate’s assets.
Lapointe filed the lawsuit in October 2009, claiming ownership of eighty-two items on which he bid online, ahead of the auction. He was the only bidder for those items, including a replica classic automobile used by Michael to provide transportation to celebrity guests, at Neverland.