Michael Jackson's family lose negligence case
By Sky News
| October 3rd 2013
Adapted from SkyNews (news.sky.com)
Michael Jackson's family has lost a fight for huge damages after a court dismissed claims that concert promoter AEG Live was negligent over his death.
The lawsuit was brought by the 50-year-old singer's mother, Katherine, 83.
Lawyers were seeking huge payouts of $85m (£52m) for each of the star's three children, as well as an unspecified amount for economic losses, estimated at up to $1.6bn (£986m).
After a five-month trial and three days of deliberations, a jury in Los Angeles determined that AEG Live was responsible for hiring Dr Conrad Murray before the singer's planned comeback concerts but that the firm was not to blame for his wrongdoing.
The disgraced medic was convicted in 2011 of involuntary manslaughter for giving Jackson an overdose of the surgical anaesthetic propofol in 2009.
Defence attorney Marvin Putnam said: "The jury's decision completely vindicates AEG Live, confirming what we have known from the start - that although Michael Jackson's death was a terrible tragedy ... not a tragedy of AEG Live's making."
A spokeswoman for the Jackson family said after the verdict: "As of right now, they don't want to speak about it."
The family had claimed AEG Live negligently hired Murray as Jackson's personal physician and ignored signs the Thriller singer was in poor health before he died.
Jackson had been due to start a series of 50 comeback concerts in London.
Witnesses said he saw the This Is It concerts as a chance for personal redemption after being acquitted of child molestation.
But as the opening date of the shows approached, he is said to have had bouts of insecurity and agonised over his inability to sleep.
The trial heard testimony from Jackson's son Prince, his ex-wife Debbie Rowe and mother Katherine, as well as details of his struggles to perform, his use of prescription drugs and his relationship with his children.
Testimony at the civil trial showed only Jackson and Murray knew he was taking propofol.
In his closing argument, Mr Putnam told jurors the company would have pulled the plug on the shows if they knew he was using the anaesthetic.
"AEG would never have agreed to finance this tour if they knew Mr Jackson was playing Russian roulette in his bedroom every night," he said.
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