Michael Jackson’s family loses wrongful death lawsuit against promoter AEG Live

Katherine Jackson and Michael Jackson’s children, Prince, Paris, and Blanket, have lost their wrongful death lawsuit against AEG Live, the concert company handling Michael Jackson’s planned comeback tour at the time of his 2009 death. Jackson of course died from a Propofol overdose administered by Dr. Conrad Murray. (Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in 2011 and was sentenced to four years in prison. He is due to be released this month.) The Jacksons argued that AEG hired Murry and was therefore responsible for negligence in MJ’s death. The jury agreed that Murray was hired by AEG, but did not find the company liable. They decided that Murray was not “unfit or incompetent to perform the work for which he was hired,” thereby finding AEG not liable for MJ’s death. Here’s more:

Maybe now Michael Jackson can finally rest in peace. Four years and a few months after the pop legend died suddenly at the age of 50, jurors in his family’s wrongful death suit against concert promoter AEG have decided that AEG did in fact hire Dr. Conrad Murray, but that Murray was not unfit or incompetent to perform his job — meaning AEG is not liable.

The verdict was read at 6:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Oct. 2, after three days of deliberations following a five-month trial in L.A. During the trial, several of Jackson’s relatives — including his 16-year-old son, Prince — were called to testify about the late star’s final days.
Jackson’s mother, Katherine Jackson, and his kids Prince, Paris, and Blanket sued AEG Live in 2010, claiming that the company had hired and supervised Dr. Conrad Murray and was therefore liable in the “Thriller” singer’s June 25, 2009 death. (Murray has been in jail for the last two years; he was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in 2011 after a different jury decided he had played a key role in Jackson’s death by administering propofol, the surgical anesthetic that led to his overdose.)

AEG, for its part, has argued that Jackson himself chose Murray. However, an email sent by AEG Live Co-CEO Paul Gongaware suggests that the physician was on the company’s payroll and thus under its control. “We want to remind [Murray] that it is AEG, not MJ, who is paying his salary,” the email read. “We want to remind him what is expected of him.”

Jackson family lawyers allege that this agreement between Murray and AEG created a conflict of interest, and that Murray felt pressured to deliver risky treatments. They further argue that concert promoter executives displayed negligence in their management of Murray and also ignored warning signs that Jackson’s health was on the decline.

AEG attorneys, meanwhile, say the company had no way of knowing the singer was at risk. They contend that AEG would have pulled the plug on Jackson’s This Is It comeback tour if they had realized he was receiving propofol. They also say they had no reason to believe Murray was endangering Jackson’s life in any way.
“AEG Live did not have a crystal ball. Dr. Murray and Mr. Jackson fooled everyone,” attorney Marvin Putnam argued in court. “AEG would have never agreed to finance this tour if they knew Mr. Jackson was playing Russian roulette in his bedroom every night.”

[From US Magazine]

Of course an addict is responsible for themselves and there’s often nothing that loved ones or an employer can do if the person isn’t willing to change. (Especially if they’re wealthy and are aided by an incompetent, corrupt doctor.) However I do wonder whether AEG saw any signs of how frail and sick Michael Jackson was. Jackson is known for being eccentric and secretive. He’s always been very thin and he’s always sought out plastic surgery. So I can see how he could hide an addiction.

Back when MJ died, AEG released video of his last concert rehearsal, taken just two days before he died. (You can watch that here.) He was doing choreographed dance moves without missing a beat and he looked very fit. I believe that if they did know MJ was sick they didn’t know the extent of it.

One of the associate choreographers on the tour testified that Jackson seemed ready to perform and that she had no idea that he was sick at all. However lead choreographer, Travis Payne, testified that MJ was having trouble with the dance moves and that AEG considered canceling the tour. He said that Jackson seemed “loopy” during some rehearsals but that was after Jackson had been to the dermatologist. “Michael was undergoing personal cosmetic procedures, so he could feel great and do a good job.” Payne said that just prior to his death, Jackson rallied a little and was improving his performances.

Ultimately, I do think the jury came to the right verdict in this case. Jackson sought out a powerful drug and a doctor who would administer it to him. MJ and Dr. Murray are the ones responsible for his death. It’s got to be hard for his kids, though, they’ve gone through so much.

Here’s the jury foreman reading the verdict. I don’t mean to make light of this serious situation, but it cracks me up how she reads the instructions out loud.

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58 Responses to “Michael Jackson’s family loses wrongful death lawsuit against promoter AEG Live”

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  1. BeckyR says:

    Michael Jackson was a common drug addict. Unfortunately, he had the means to to buy drugs, security and anyone else who would be useful in keeping his dirty little secret. It seems the Jackson family would like to blame anyone other than the deceased. They need to let it go. Most of US have.

    • Lake Mom says:

      It’s also common for the family of an addict to be in denial.

      • Kiddo says:

        They weren’t in denial. They supposedly attempted an intervention with him. They let it go when he was going to cut all ties to them, as the story goes.

    • jwoolman says:

      He wasn’t a recreational drug user. He was dealing with serious pain and sleep issues. The pain was an aftereffect of an accident and probably also his skin disease. Look up that disease some time – I ran into into a forum once on the topic, all agreed he had it and they could spot the beginnings of it when he was younger. Commonly when it gets to be extensive, it reaches the point where it is easier to bleach the smaller patches of remaining pigmented skin than to cover up the depigmented areas. But pain can also occur with it. He should have hired a team of specialists in pain management and sleep disorders. Instead he deliberately hired an incompetent doctor who would prescribe a drug he had found let him sleep. A competent doctor would never have done it, and even if greed overcame common sense then a decent doctor would have set up serious monitoring (not just himself trying not to fall asleep at the bedside and leaving the patient alone during bathroom breaks). But the doc is a scapegoat – Michael Jackson killed Michael Jackson, unfortunately. Regardless, it’s unfair to call him a common drug addict. He wasn’t trying to get high for the fun of it, he was trying to get some sleep and deal with serious pain issues.

      • Helena says:

        Jwoolman: Exactly. MJ had always troubles to sleep and when he was stressed it got even worse. His health problems together with sleep deprivation and anxieties drove him using powerful painkillers and such. Still, there were a long periods in his life when he was fine. Tours were tough for him and during and after the trial in 2005 he probably relied heavily on prescription drugs.

      • Kim says:

        Oh please! You are trying to justify a father who did drugs willingly in the house with his children present. MANY people have physical pain but dont abuse drugs. I myself have major sleep issues but dont take any drugs to help me sleep. Its a choice and he made the choice to be a drug addict.

      • Bridget says:

        There’s always a reason. It doesn’t change the fact that he was an addict.

      • Sal says:

        You just backed up BeckyR, without even realising it. There is a big difference between a recreational drug user, and a drug addict. Michael Jackson didn’t use drugs for fun, he used them because he was ADDICTED. Its well-known he was addicted to pain-killers before, and long after the pain from his decades ago incident subsided. You basically just said what BeckyR said. Jackson wasn’t a recreational user, he used because he HAD to, because he was addicted. Thus, he was an addict.

    • mayamae says:

      It seems that, like in many other situations, Michael Jackson will never be held accountable for his culpability and actions.

  2. teehee says:

    Duh! I’m glad they did.
    it’s nobody elses fault because you have to be willing to take those drugs. Any healthy person would not take the cocktail that Conrad offered, unless they wanted to. And Michael could have persuaded any number of docs to give him those meds– so it doesnt even matter which doc exactly— the point is, he would have gotten his hands on the meds somehow cos he wanted them.
    That is NOT the fault of AEG in any way whatsoever! How dare his money greedy family think they deserve a payout!!!

    • TG says:

      Agree 100%. I am still in disbelief that there are people who take propofol to help them sleep. How does one even get addicted to that drug? I also learned thru this case that you do not have REM sleep so if you keep this up for so many days you will die, which is exactly what he did. It is interesting to see how important sleep is to the body.

      • gg says:

        I agree Propofol is not a sleep drug, it’s for surgery and probably medically induced comas only. But are you saying that not having REM sleep will cause you to die? If so, that’s not true.

      • fingerbinger says:

        I had surgery and I was given propofol and that is some good $hit.

    • Jo says:

      MJ’s siblings always seeemed to be the ones behind this suit. KJ was just the front person. They are all so desperate to get money. Michael is rolling in his grave in disgust with all of this.

      • QQ says:

        Jo, i Agree what i dont get is WHY the Jackson family at large is so conniving attention thirsty and money hungry and generally such a band of fuck-ups

        Apparently LaToya is signing contract with the promise that The kids are coming too and that pic holding whatever doesnt contradict that

        Apparently as well Randy or Tito (one of these losers) has been grooming paris and trying her which is why she started approaching and staying with her mom, now that she is in treatment and away etc the bastard actually took to twitter to whine that “they wont let him see her” instead of being grateful if the rumors are true that he aint in jail UGH

      • Hakura says:

        @QQ – Approaching & ‘trying her’? I really don’t keep up w/the Jackson drama (I find it depressing), so I don’t know the latest. What did they do (to Paris)? & what is she in treatment for? *totally clueless*

    • Sherry says:

      I agree. He was an addict. If Dr. Murray didn’t supply him with the drugs, he would have found someone else who would. In the end, the only person to blame was Michael himself.

    • Caz says:

      I also agree. No-one force-fed MJ the drugs he took. It’s incredibly sad he died – if he’d approached his issues in a different way maybe he’d still be alive. The promoter is of course not responsible for what happened.

      Who paid for the Jacksons’ legal costs? Has that money come out of the childrens’ trust fund? If so shame (again) on the elders of that family. They have a lot to answer for.

      The Jury has spoken sense.

  3. Joan says:

    This is one hell of a smart jury.everyone knows that the only person responsible for MJ’s death is MJ and Murray.KJ went home with a big egg on her face.

    • Hakura says:

      I was impressed with them, too. That they managed not to let any possible ‘personal feelings’ & ‘fandom’ of Micheal cloud their judgement of the facts presented. It’s not seen often when such a big star is at the center of a case.

      • QQ says:

        Hakura, to answer you (yes these people are SUPER depressing and almost par with the Houstons for attention whoring) The rumor mill is going that Basically started with alone dinners, and shopping sprees and it was progressing to handolding , no personal space, Buying undies trying to kiss her which is why she went to live with Debbie Rowe, also after her suicide attempt (which some folks are blaming on all the fuckery with the uncle) she’s been kept away from him and i believe until fairly recently she was in the UCLA psych ward reveiving care, well, This Tito decides ( as always cause this people have no way to NOT air their personal shit out) to whine on twitter about why is she there and why isnt he allowed to see her ( The same exact Date Enty posts-Dude is lucky he isnt in Jail)

      • Kiddo says:

        @QQ , If that’s true, it fills me with disgust. I would wonder if he thinks getting in tight with her makes him closer to her inheritance. Perhaps he knows more about Paris and her parentage than we do, so maybe he doesn’t see it as incestuous as everyone else would, a la Woody Allen.

      • Boxy Lady says:

        @ QQ Was it really Tito, though? I’ve never heard one bad word about Tito although people like to make fun of his name. I had the distinct impression the uncle was Randy since he had those tweets about how he thought Paris had been in the hospital too long.

  4. Dawn says:

    It was always my understanding that the Jackson family were the ones who pushed MJ into doing that concert to begin with. His brothers needed the income. I think the courts got it right this time. I feel bad for the three kids who were left without a parent or adults who don’t want their money. The Jacksons can be a very vile family.

  5. Mirna says:

    It’s the right verdict. It was just another money grab by the mother to try to siphon money off to her other sons. If it were truly about “justice” she would have sued Murray. The estate is almost at a billion dollars, but that goes to MJ’s kids, not to her and she knows time is running out.

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      Agree. It was the right verdict. I feel sorry for those kids who are left with only those money grabbers for family. MJ put them in that position when he and his doctor cooked up that deadly formula every night. They both knew what they were doing.

    • lisa says:

      ita, i feel sorry for those kids. nothing will be kosher over there until they are all 18. and even then i would still worry.

  6. M says:

    “We want to remind [Murray] that it is AEG, not MJ, who is paying his salary,” the email read. “We want to remind him what is expected of him.”


    What was “expected” of him?

  7. Dhavynia says:

    I know that the music industry suffered a great loss with his death but all of us here know who the responsible party was. Based on what Jackson’s family attorney had, a mindful family member shouldn’t have gone through with this lawsuit.
    This is a perfect example of how people waste resources by filings lawsuits that we all know are a waste of time.
    This family has been fighting for the control of MJ money since his death and I’m sorry to say but IMO this was all about money, not the kids, not his music. There, I said it

    • Kiddo says:

      Yeah, but the lawyers make out like bandits. Of course they want to try a high profile case like this, with the potential to strike it very rich through an emotionally charged celebrity death. Shame on them.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        The lawyers are doing their job. Clients file the lawsuits because they’re angry, greedy or whatever, then everyone blames the lawyers. They don’t do it by themselves.

      • Kiddo says:

        No, of course they don’t. But no one forces them into a suit with a gun to their heads either.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        @Kiddo – I didn’t mean to sound so defensive. My father is a lawyer, and he has so much integrity, and I admire him so much. Sometimes I get tired of people blaming lawyers for their clients’ demands. But you have a valid point, and certainly you can find unscrupulous, slimy people in every profession, including law. Sorry if my comment seemed directed at you.

      • Hakura says:

        @GoodNamesAllTaken – I obviously can’t speak for Kiddo, nor would try to. But the impression I got was that the negative opinion was directed toward lawyers who, seeing a possible payday, may encourage people to do & try things they ordinarily wouldn’t have (w/o being honest about the likely outcome),…had they been deciding what (if any) action to take with a lawyer who, like your father, does practice law with integrity (& concern for his client’s well being/financial situation).

        I do understand though, lawyers of all kinds get a ‘bad rap’ in general, called ‘slimy’ or ‘greedy’ just because they *are* lawyers, which definitely isn’t a fair assumption.

      • Kiddo says:

        @GoodNamesAllTaken, Ah, no worries, hon. I didn’t intend to paint a broad brush stroke about all attorneys. We have some in our circle of friends and family too. I was specifically thinking about the ones involved in this case and some others.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        Yes, you both make good points, and are very kind. Sorry for the knee jerk reaction. Thanks for understanding.

  8. Petee says:

    The most dysfunctional family ever.Thank goodness the jury made the right decision.It is bad enough that they even brought up this lawsuit but to drag those kids into is absolutely disgusting.They knew Micheal Jackson was a hardcore drug addict but it was ok as long as they were getting something out of it.After he died the free ride was over and they tried to keep it going by suing AEG.Ugg horrible people.I am glad you didn’t get a dime.

    • mayamae says:

      They are pretty screwed up. Compare them to the Osmond family – they were also forced into fame as children, and were raised in a very strict religion.

  9. Kiddo says:

    Hopefully, they don’t appeal the decision and move on. The kids are set for life. Money won’t bring their father back, and the other Jacksons will have to find a way to survive without making through MJ.

    Let the dude rest in peace now. It’s over.

    • Nono says:

      “Let the dude rest in peace”

      Whatever one thinks of Michael Jackson, his talent, his affinity for children, his wacky behaviour, whatever rumours one thinks are true or not true, I don’t think anyone can deny he had a hellish life. I still feel sorry for the guy. What a tragic life!

      • Helena says:

        His life might have been tragic in some ways but it was also charmed and fulfilled in that Michael was blessed with celestial talent which keeps giving and bringing joy to the world. In the end he gambled with his life in order to get a goodnight sleep and be ready to perform. We lost him but we never loose his music and he would be the first one to say that his artistry is all we should remember. I and millions around the world love him forever.

      • Hakura says:

        @Nono – I know, I always feel so sad when I think about everything he went through, how abused he was by the people who should’ve loved him most & protected him, only to be pimped out because he had such an amazing talent.

        I know he made an incredible contribution to the world during his career (so this is not knocking any aspect of your comment, Helena), but if it could be done all over, I would wish (for his sake) that he was born into a different family, &/or *didn’t* have talent, if that meant he could’ve escaped at least *some* of the pain it (indirectly) caused him.

        I wish he could’ve seen outwardly what we saw inwardly…He was a beautiful person. And while I know it isn’t half as good as having their Father, at least his kids can be proud of his legacy.

  10. janie says:

    The right decision was made by the jury. The family needs to move on and just close this chapter. He was a grown man and chose drugs over everything else.

  11. capepopsie says:

    Can we show a Little bit of respect, please? We know nothing about this, what the real terms were, what MJ´s Life was like, the things he had to deal with. It easy for us now to be judgemental. I just feel for the sake of his Children, who he loved unconditionally, that we should show appropriate respect.

    • Kiddo says:

      What do you find disrespectful? The suit? The jury verdict? The comments? It’s not clear.

    • Kiddo says:

      Of course, but why? Many people are agreeing with the jury verdict. So far, I have read nothing that was disrespectful to MJ specifically.

      • capepopsie says:

        I don´t know about you, but if MJ could read these comments I don´t Think he would be very happy about them, or that his Children would be. Painting their family
        greedy, not caring about the Children etc. etc. Regardless of what your personal opinion might be,I do feel, that the children have gone through enough. As I said, we don´t really know what was going on. So lets not pretend we do. My heart bleeds for the Children and his mother, who, in his Eyes, was “a Saint”. Enough said on my part.

      • Kiddo says:

        If there was only concern about the children, the family wouldn’t have filed suit in order for them to relive the death, his addictions and all the other dirt that surrounded it. They would let the children heal. Bringing the suit dredged up all the horrors back up for them, instead of riding the tide where people were interested in MJ, had nostalgia for his music and were buying it again. That added greatly to the children’s security in the future. It was unnecessary to drag them through all of this again for money.

        We know what people testified to in the trial. MJ was a drug addict. It’s sad but it is a fact. He used propofal long before Dr Murray came on the scene or AEG. AEG did not stand to benefit from promoting an expensive world tour with a badly compromised star. There’s no way a smart business person would insert someone who they thought might risk profits by making the star unable to function. MJ hand-picked Murray knowing he could manipulate him. That is sad, but that is true. AEG did not pick Murray for Jackson. Murray didn’t secretly spike a drink for Jackson. Jackson wanted the drugs. And of course it was wrong for Murray to comply, but the Jacksons didn’t sue Murray.

        If the Jackson family is going to have a public argument in a court, then people are going to have opinions, the children are going to be reminded of the events, and no one is going to be able to rewrite history.

        The best thing the family could do, for the future of MJ’s kids, is to not damage the brand any further with lawsuits.

      • Hakura says:

        @Capepopsie – I understand your POV, but no one here has disrespected Micheal or his children by stating what we *do* know as fact. I won’t talk about his Mother (as I think she’s been manipulated by her other children repeatedly), but the rest of Micheal’s family have very publicly been trying to take advantage of him, over the years.

        *They* disrespected his children’s grief & healing by bringing an unnecessary lawsuit. The children didn’t need that money, *they* did.

      • Sal says:

        Excuse, Capepopsie? People are only speaking the truth and its people like yourself who enable all this exploitation of theb children. Its a FACT that his siblings are after his money. Its a FACT that dragging this through the courts for money, impacts upon the children particularly Paris, who attempted suicide a couple of times. If you can’t see that his family are greedy and that exploiting MJ and his children for money IS what this is all about, then I feel sorry for you that you can’t understand this. Further to your credibility, calling that ghastly ‘mother’ who ALLOWED Joe Jackson to PHYSICALLY ABUSE Michael a ‘saint’ shows how far into delusion and denial you are. The rot started from Joe and Katherine, down. Wishy washy lets all sing kumbaya and ignore the elephant in the room attitudes like yours are why abusers – physical, emotional and sexual get away with their abuse because people like you would rather turn away than confront it.

    • Mirna says:

      If you don’t want to read the comments on a GOSSIP site, feel free to leave the thread. People don’t have to agree with your obvious admiration of Michael Jackson, with his many demons. Just like you don’t have to agree with our comments.

  12. Mandy says:

    Good. This law suit was ridiculous as is the Jackson family.

  13. Merritt says:

    MJ was an addict. Murray never should have been giving him Propofol. I have a hard time believing that MJ wasn’t pushing for it though. I think the jury was right.

  14. hayley says:

    The fact that they were asking for a billion dollars would have caused me to vote against them no matter what kind of evidence was presented.