Michael Jackson’s Promoter Not Liable in DeathBy: Erika Watts - October 2, 2013
More than four years after the King of Pop passed, it looks like the legal issues surrounding his death may finally be resolved. The family of “Thriller” singer Michael Jackson had filed a lawsuit against his concert promoter for negligence, which was dismissed today. The family wanted up to $1.5 billion from the promotion company AEG Live.
Jackson’s family claimed that AEG Live, who was promoting Jackson’s “This Is It” tour, hired Michael Jackson’s physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, who discovered Jackson not breathing on June 25, 2009. Murray tried to revive Jackson after finding him, but waited around half an hour before calling 911. Jackson was announced dead shortly thereafter.
Murray was eventually charged with and found guilty of involuntary manslaughter for his part in Jackson’s death, which included giving the singer too many prescription drugs. After Murray was found guilty, Jackson’s family went after the promoter, since they believed that AEG Live was responsible for providing the doctor. AEG said that Jackson hired Murray himself.
The lawsuit Jackson’s family filed against the promotion company went to a jury trial, which lasted for five months. “AEG Live did not have a crystal ball,” defense attorney Marvin Putnam said during the trial. “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.”
After closing arguments were made last week, the jury deliberated for three days until making their decision earlier this evening. According to NPR, the decision that AEG Live wasn’t negligent in Jackson’s death was “unanimous.”
When asked why they found in favor of the promotion company, juror Kevin Smith said it was because “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.”
While AEG Live CEO Randy Phillips is happy with the decision, he regrets that it came to this. “I counted Michael Jackson a creative partner and a friend,” Phillips said. “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.”
Do you agree with the verdict that AEG Live isn’t liable for Michael Jackson’s death, even though they hired his doctor? Respond below.