Michael Jackson’s family has lost the negligence case against concert promoters AEG Live over the death of the pop star.
A jury concluded Dr. Conrad Murray, who was looking after Michael Jackson ahead of his concert tour was not unfit for his job – and so AEG had not been negligent in hiring him.
Michael Jackson died in 2009 at the age of 50 after taking an overdose of a surgical anaesthetic.
Dr. Conrad Murray was jailed for four years for involuntary manslaughter for administering the drug.
To reach its verdict, the jury of six men and six women had to go through five key yes-no questions seeking to establish whether AEG was responsible for Conrad Murray’s hiring in the first place and concerning his competence for the job.
The jury decided that AEG Live did hire Conrad Murray but found that he was not unfit or incompetent for the job.
Delivering the verdict, jury foreman Gregg Barden said: “That doesn’t mean we felt he was ethical.”
The ruling was welcomed by AEG Live, who argued that they hired Conrad Murray at the request of Michael Jackson and had no knowledge of the star’s drug dependency.
“I counted Michael Jackson a creative partner and a friend,” said AEG Live executive Randy Phillips, who had testified at the trial.
Michael Jackson’s family has lost the negligence case against concert promoters AEG Live over the death of the pop star
“We lost one of the world’s greatest musical geniuses, but I am relieved and deeply grateful that the jury recognized that neither I, nor anyone else at AEG Live, played any part in Michael’s tragic death.”
Michael Jackson’s 83-year-old mother Katherine was in court for the verdict, and appeared emotional as it was read out, Reuters news agency reports.
Katherine Jackson’s lawyer, Kevin Boyle, said the family was “of course… not happy with the result as it stands now. We will be exploring all options legally and factually and make a decision about anything at a later time.”
In closing arguments, the Jackson lawyers had suggested the damages they were seeking could exceed $1 billion – amounts AEG Live had described as “absurd”.
Michael Jackson died on June 25, 2009, at his rented home in Los Angeles where he was rehearsing for a series of worldwide This Is It concerts.
It was billed as his comeback tour, coming four years after he had been acquitted in a high-profile child molestation case that took a toll on his reputation and his finances.
The five-month civil case heard about his battles with chronic pain and insomnia and a reliance on powerful painkillers.
Michael Jackson died after Dr. Conrad Murray administered an overdose of the hospital anaesthetic propofol to help him sleep.
Katherine Jackson and Michael’s three children had argued that AEG Live were negligent in failing to properly investigate Conrad Murray before hiring him and ignoring signs that the singer was in poor health.
The concert promoters said only Michael Jackson and Conrad Murray knew he was taking the drug and they would have pulled the plug on the tour if they had known.
More than 50 witnesses testified during the trial, including Katherine Jackson and Michael’s eldest son, Prince.
Dr. Conrad Murray is due to be released later this month after serving two years in jail.
Kai Chase, Michael Jackson’s former personal chef, has opened up about how Paris and her siblings have coped in the wake of their father’s death.
During a testimony in the Jackson family’s wrongful death suit against AEG Live regarding Michael Jackson’s death, Kai Chase revealed 15-year-old Paris, who is currently recovering in hospital following a failed suicide bid, is “devastated and lost”.
She also revealed that Paris Jackson no longer wants parties for her birthday since her father hosted a private circus for her when she turned 11.
Kai Chase said: “Being daddy’s little girl, Paris is devastated. She’s devastated and lost. She’s trying to find herself and find who she is. It’s taking a lot of love and understanding to keep her together. She breaks down, she cries, she talks about him.”
Earlier in her testimony, Kai Chase described an April 2009 birthday party for Paris Jackson that included a private circus. The Cirque du Soleil-style show featured men on stilts and a woman performing in a giant balloon, Kai Chase said.
Paris Jackson, who was turning 11, adored her father and Kai Chase helped decorate a room filled with posters and photos of Michael Jackson. The singer’s music was played throughout the party.
It was the last birthday party Paris Jackson, now 15, has had.
“Paris hasn’t had any birthdays since,” Kai Chase said.
“She hasn’t wanted to celebrate since.”
Michael Jackson’s youngest son, Blanket, who remains home-schooled, wears a T-shirt with his father’s image every Friday, she said.
A video deposition of Paris from March was shown as part of the trial on Tuesday, as the teenager is still too unwell to testify in person.
Paris Jackson no longer wants parties for her birthday since Michael Jackson hosted a private circus for her when she turned 11
The videos were used after lawyers for the Jackson family told the judge that Paris, who is suing the concert giant along with her grandmother Katherine, 83, and siblings, would be unable to testify in person due to the fact that she is still recovering in hospital.
Katherine Jackson’s lawsuit claims AEG failed to properly investigate Dr. Conrad Murray, who is serving a four-year prison sentence for involuntary manslaughter over Michael’s death, and pushed the superstar to rehearse and perform a planned series of 50 comeback shows titled This Is It.
Lawyers acting for Paris, Prince Michael, Blanket, and Katherine contend that pressure from AEG led to Michael Jackson’s death from an overdose of surgical anaesthetic in June 2009, two weeks before his This Is It concerts were to begin at the O2 Arena in London.
Both Paris Jackson and her brother Prince are listed as potential witnesses in the case, which is in its sixth week of trial.
However, in the video testimonial from March which was replayed on Tuesday, Paris Jackson claimed that her former nanny Grace Rwaramba, who has visited the teenager in hospital since her suicide attempt, was “obsessed” with Michael Jackson.
Paris Jackson said: “My dad didn’t like her so he tried to keep her away from us. He would send her to run errands a lot… He said she was sneaky, she was not an honest person and she lied a lot.”
She added in the footage: “She used to be [one of the nannies] but she got really creepy. This is going to freak you out. One time, it was before – me and my brother were really young – before Blanket was born.
“When he would stay in a hotel, or whatever, she would call the hotel and say that she was his wife. She was obsessed with him… They let her in and he’d wake up and she would be in his bed.”
Marvin S. Putnam, a defense attorney for AEG Live, said Paris and Prince Jackson were deposed in the case because they are named plaintiffs. He said Paris Jackson’s testimony was not a “grilling” but urged privacy for her and her family.
“There’s a real person involved here,” Marvin S. Putnam said.
“There’s a 15-year-old girl and something incredibly tragic has happened that none of us know why and I think it would really be in everyone’s best interest and particularly in her best interest if rather than blowing this up into something else, that they were given a little bit of privacy to deal with something that has to be a tragic, tragic moment for all of them.”
“She’s 15,” he said.
“Someone should give her a break.”
According to TMZ, legal papers reveal the famous offspring are asking for $10 billion for all of the future earnings they claim their father would have generated if he had he lived.
According to the website, the family want an additional $50 million for various other damages.
AEG, which denies any liability for Michael Jackson’s death, says the huge figure is based on speculation and that the star’s career was on a downward spiral.
Legal analysts say the billions being claimed are unlikely to be awarded and are a legal tactic to get publicity for the case.
Just days prior to her suicide bid, Paris Jackson was reportedly told that she does not share the same biological father as Prince.
Then, over the days that followed, Paris Jackson spiraled into depression and was admitted to the UCLA medical centre hospital after cutting her wrists and taking an overdose of pills on June 5.
Whilst Paris Jackson is said to be feeling better, she could remain in hospital for another month.
Detective Orlando Martinez, who investigated Michael Jackson’s 2005 death, has revealed that Dr. Conrad Murray was $500,000 in debt and willing to do anything to get paid while he was treating the megastar.
Orlando Martinez told jurors on Tuesday that Conrad Murray depended on the $150,000-a-month salary that he received from Michael Jackson’s concert promoter AEG Live.
Lawyers for Michael Jackson’s mother Katherine argued that AEG should have vetted Murray. AEG is defending itself from a wrongful death lawsuit that alleges the company bears responsibility for Dr. Conrad Murray allegedly giving Michael Jackson a lethal dose of the anesthetic propofol.
Orlando Martinez testified that he looked into Conrad Murray’s finances searching for a financial motive for his role in Michael Jackson’s death and relied mostly on public records. The detective turned up that Conrad Murray’s Las Vegas home was in foreclosure proceedings, and the doctor faced several liens for unpaid child support and other unpaid debts.
The searches led Orlando Martinez to conclude that Conrad Murray’s financial condition was “severely distressed”.
Orlando Martinez said that led him to believe Conrad Murray’s actions were motivated by the $150,000 a month he expected to be paid by AEG.
“He may break the rules, bend the rules, do whatever he needed to do to get paid,” Orlando Martinez said.
“It might solve his money problems.”
Conrad Murray’s finances were not a factor in the criminal case that ended with his 2011 conviction for administering a fatal dose of propofol to Michael Jackson.
Orlando Martinez also showed jurors photographs the various medications officers uncovered in Michael Jackson’s bedroom, including several vials of propofol.
The paramedic who discovered Michael Jackson dead in his bedroom in june 2009 told the jury earlier Tuesday that the King of Pop appeared to have been dead at least an hour when he arrived on the scene.
Michael Jackson’s blue hands, feet and lips, and the star’s dry eyes all signaled to paramedic Richard Senneff that the singer was dead and hadn’t been breathing for a long time.
Det. Orlando Martinez said Dr. Conrad Murray was $500,000 in debt and willing to do anything to get paid while he was treating Michael Jackson
“To me, he looked like someone who was at the end stage of a long disease process,” Richard Senneff said Tuesday during his testimony in the civil case between Michael Jackson’s mother and concert giant AEG Live.
Richard Senneff also recalled how Michael Jackson’s doctor, Conrad Murray, was frantically trying to revive the megastar.
“He was pale, he was sweaty,” the paramedic said of Murray.
“He was very busy.”
Conrad Murray claimed he was treating Michael Jackson for dehydration and he never mentioned propofol, the hospital-grade anesthetic that killed the singer, Richard Senneff said.
He told the panel that he found an IV pole, oxygen tanks and a nightstand with several medicine bottles.
In the nearly four years since his death, nearly every aspect of Michael Jackson’s life has been explored in court proceedings, documentaries, books and news stories.
Still, the negligence case filed by his mother against AEG promises to deliver the most detailed account of the singer’s addiction struggles, including testimony from his ex-wife Debbie Rowe about treatments involving the anesthetic propofol dating back to the 1990s.
Michael Jackson died from a propofol overdose in 2009 while preparing for a series of comeback concerts at AEG’s O2 Arena in London.
Katherine Jackson contends AEG didn’t properly investigate Conrad Murray, the doctor who later administered the fatal dose. The company denies wrongdoing.
During opening statements, attorneys framed Michael Jackson’s prescription drug addiction through the prism of his superstar status.
Attorney Brian Panish, who represents Katherine Jackson, said the drug problems worsened when the pop star was under the stress of live performances.
AEG attorney Marvin S. Putnam countered that Michael Jackson’s stardom provided a cover to receive multiple, secret medical treatments, many involving propofol.
At one point in the proceedings, the harsh portrayal of Michael Jackson’s struggle with addiction, led one juror to lean forward and stare at the floor for several moments.
Katherine Jackson and two of the superstar’s children, Prince and Paris, are potential witnesses whose testimony will likely focus heavily on their grieving and losses.
On Monday, Brian Panish played a song Michael Jackson wrote for his children as a montage of photos played during opening statements. He also read a handwritten note from Michael Jackson that his mother framed and has hanging on her wall.
“The only way you can assess damages, is to know what they had,” Brian Panish said before reading the letter and playing You Are My Life.
Katherine Jackson dabbed her eyes with a tissue. On Tuesday, she left the courtroom while the paramedic described her son’s condition on the day he died.
It may be several days before jurors get another look at Michael Jackson’s softer side.
The trial will also feature testimony on Michael Jackson’s troubled finances, with debts that reached nearly $400 million by the time he died.
AEG contends the debts made him desperate to have a successful concert series.
“The private Michael Jackson was like a lot of American in the 2000s, spending a lot more than he was making,” Marvin S. Putnam told the jury after describing Michael Jackson’s lavish Neverland Ranch, his art collection and other spending.
Many other private moments from Michael Jackson’s life will be exposed as the case progresses over the next several months, with witnesses expected to testify about secret medical treatments, lavish spending and tender moments spent with his mother and children.