The King Center CEO, Bernice A. King, issued the following statement in response to the withdrawal of the lawsuit brought by the King Estate:
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, Inc. (“The King Center”) is pleased that the Estate of Martin Luther King, Jr., Inc. (the “Estate”) has dismissed the complaint that was filed against The King Center at the direction of Dexter King. Throughout this unfortunate and unnecessary litigation, The King Center’s Board has steadfastly maintained that it neither authorized nor ratified a purported licensing agreement that would give the Estate the power to strip The King Center of its name, and its use of Dr. King’s name, image and likeness in the advancement of The King Center’s mission. The King Center has also maintained that the Estate’s complaint and the underlying allegations were completely unfounded. The Estate’s dismissal of this lawsuit — albeit without prejudice — is a vindication of The King Center’s position.
As importantly, the dismissal is an important first step in rebuilding a long-lasting relationship between the two corporations. Going forward, The King Center is hopeful that the parties will work together, hand in hand, in a manner consistent with the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the vision of Coretta Scott King to build The King Center as the official living memorial to her husband and his leadership legacy of nonviolent social change. As the Center has from its inception, it will continue to educate and train individuals throughout the world in Nonviolence 365, which is Dr. King’s philosophy and methodology of nonviolence as a lifestyle.”
The firms representing The King Center in this litigation were McDermott Will & Emery LLP (James Commons), Rogers & Hardin LLP (Richard Sinkfield), and Pierson Law LLC (Holly Pierson).