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A long-running lawsuit filed by Tim Burton's ex-girlfriend over his assets should be dismissed, an appeals court has ruled.

The California Court of Appeals issued a ruling on Wednesday ordering a lower court judge to grant a motion by Burton's attorneys for a summary judgment.

The move halts a trial scheduled for next week that would have focused on the couple's nearly decade-long relationship, which ended in 2001.

Burton's longtime girlfriend, Lisa Marie, sued the director in 2006. She claimed that she was cheated out of money that Burton had promised her during their relationship.

Douglas Bagby, who is representing Burton, praised the ruling and said the suit should have never been filed.

Lara Ott, an attorney representing Marie, said late Thursday that she plans to appeal the ruling. She said she expects the case to eventually go to trial.

In court documents, Burton claimed he paid Marie $5.5 million. She signed an agreement relinquishing any claims to future assets and should return the payout if she did not want to abide by the contract, Burton has argued.

Marie countered in court filings that she felt coerced to sign the contract and that Burton promised to take care of her "financial support and needs for the rest of her life."

In July, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Teresa Sanchez-Gordon denied a motion by Burton's attorneys to have the case thrown out. She can argue why her decision should be upheld, but must file a response by mid-September.

Burton met Marie, a former Calvin Klein model, at a club in 1991. He cast her in several of his films, including "Ed Wood," "Mars Attacks" and a "Planet of the Apes" remake.

Burton met Helena Bonham Carter, whom he is currently dating, while filming "Planet of the Apes." The couple have two children.


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