The verdict is finally in and a jury found AEG not liable in the death of pop icon Michael Jackson. According to the jury, AEG Live hired Dr. Conrad Murray, but also concluded that the concert promoter was not liable for Jackson’s drug overdose death, reports CNN.
Jackson’s mother, Katherine Jackson, and the singer’s three children sued AEG Live in 2010, charging that the company’s negligence in hiring, retaining and supervising Murray was a major factor in the singer’s June 25, 2009 death. But after five months of testimony, the jury declared that Murray was competent, so even though AEG Live hired him, it was not liable for Jackson’s death and didn’t owe the Jackson family millions of dollars in compensation.
“We have said from the beginning that this case was a search for the truth. We found the truth. AEG hired Dr. Conrad Murray, the man who is in jail for killing Michael Jackson,” according to a statement from Katherine Jackson and her lawyers. “All options regarding the balance of the jury verdict are being considered.”
The jury sided with AEG Live lawyers, who said that the company was not negligent because its executives had no way of knowing that Murray — licensed to practice in four states and never sued for malpractice — was a risk to Jackson. The singer was a secretive drug addict who kept even his closest relatives in the dark about his use of propofol to sleep, the lawyers argued.
“Jackson died of an overdose of the surgical anesthetic propofol, which Murray told investigators he was using to treat the singer’s insomnia so he could rest for rehearsals. Murray is set to be released from jail later this month after serving two years for involuntary manslaughter,” reports CNN.
Jackson died right before his comeback tour which was promoted and produced by AEG Live. It was set to launch in London in the summer of 2009.
“We felt (Murray) was competent” to be Jackson’s general practitioner, said juror Greg Barden. “That doesn’t mean we felt he was ethical.”
Since jurors found that AEG Live was not liable, they did not consider other questions on the verdict form that would have determined how much in damages the promoter would have paid Katherine, Prince, Paris and Blanket Jackson. Brian Panish, Jackson’s lead lawyer, had suggested that the amount for damages range between $1 billion and $2 billion to replace the earnings lost by Jackson’s death at age 50 and the non-economic — or personal — damages from the loss of a father and son.
Although the jury has decided, this may not be the end of the case. Jackson’s lawyers have said they feel they have grounds for appeal.