The jury in the court case brought against concert promoter AEG Live LLC by Michael Jackson's family has ruled in favour of the promoter.
A jury ruled in favour of concert promoter AEG Live LLC, determining that the company was not liable in the death of singer Michael Jackson in 2009. The court case had been filed by Katherine Jackson, Michael's mother, and his three children - Prince, Paris, Blanket- were also listed as plaintiffs. The concert promoters were responsible for arranging Jackson's comeback tour in 2009, the case against them claimed they were negligent in hiring Dr Conrad Murray as Jackson's doctor.
Michael Jackson died in 2009 after his doctor administered propofol.
Murray was charged with involuntary manslaughter in 2011 as it was ruled he had administered a fatal dose of propofol which led to Jackson's death. The drug propofol is usually used as an anaesthetic in surgical operations; however Murray administered the drug to Jackson in July 2009 as a sleeping aid, with fatal results. Despite being a difficult drug to administer, Jackson's lawyers argued,"Propofol might not be the best idea. But if you have a competent doctor, you're not going to die."
The proceedings have been underway since April 2013 and ended on Wednesday 2 October when the jury came back with their decision. The jury of six men and six women returned their verdict on the third day of this court session, as reported by USA Today.
The jury ruled that AEG was not negligent as, although they did hire Murray, he was not considered unfit or incompetent. Furthermore, according to jurors, Jackson can hardly be portrayed as a victim as he was forthright and determined. Juror Kevin Smith, speaking to USA Today, stated, "Michael Jackson was used to getting his way. He could pretty much get what he wanted. Anybody that said 'no', they were out of the mix and he'd find somebody else."
Although this does imply Murray may have been in a difficult position it seems unlikely the 2011 involuntary manslaughter verdict will be evaluated, a factor of this court case AEG's lawyer Marvin Putnam was eager to emphasise. Putnam claimed what truly happened regarding Murray and Jackson could not be known, saying, "What really happened behind those locked doors? That was between Michael Jackson and his physician.''
Michael Jackson's children (L-R): Prince, Blanket and Paris would stand to benefit from the court case.
As always, it appears the major issue in the Jackson family pushing for this court case was money. One of Jackson's legal team, Brian Panish, discussed what sort of settlement the family, had they won, were looking for. This was around $85 million in personal damages to each of Michael Jackson's three children, and $35 million to Katherine Jackson. However, Putnam argued the figure should have been closer to $21 million. AEG decided to continue the court case rather than settling as Putnam stated "they weren't going to allow themselves to be shaken down."
Ironically, the Jackson's lawyers wanted to paint AEG as being money obsessed and without concern for their employee's welfare. As Putnam pointed out, "AEG Live did not have a crystal ball. Dr Murray and Mr Jackson fooled everyone. They want to blame AEG for something no one saw... AEG would have never agreed to finance this tour if they knew Mr Jackson was playing Russian roulette in his bedroom every night."
AEG's legal team are obviously pleased to see the back of this trial, yet it may not be the last they hear from the Jackson family. Another member of Jackson's legal team stated, "We, of course, are 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."
A jury ruled AEG was not negligent in hiring Dr Conrad Murray.