We are shocked! Katherine Jackson and the Jackson family have just lost in their $85 million civil court fight to hold concert tour promoter AEG Live responsible for Michael Jackson's 2009 death. Therefore, AEG is NOT liable for Jackson's death and will not have to pay out to the family.
While the jury ruled that AEG Live DID hire Dr. Conrad Murray (which was hotly disputed), the jury also ruled Dr. Murray was NOT, "unfit or incompetent to perform the work for which he was hired," which means he WAS a competent doctor at the time of hire, and which boils down to this: Katherine and the kids lose.
The outcome of the civil trial hinged on the question of whether Murray was competent to handle the pop singer when he was hired, which the jury said he was. However, a jury in the criminal case against Murray ruled that the doc DID go off the deep end and made choices that eventually contributed to the death of the "Billie Jean" singer. Unfortunately, because Murray was competent when he was hired, the Jacksons lost -- big time.
After the verdict was read, the Judge Yvette M. Palazuelos polled the jury individually (in an awkward, "Who's on First"-style few minutes) on their verdicts and then thanked them for their five months of jury duty.
During the trial, Jackson family lawyer Brian Panish has asserted that the tour company tried to "hoodwink" jurors and put off the blame for the death of the King of Pop at the age of 50.
In the trial, Panish did his best to (and ultimately did) persuade the jury that AEG did hire Dr. Conrad Murray, who was found guilty in 2011 of causing Jackson's death while he was preparing for his "This Is It" come back tour. Panish told the six-man, six-woman jury, "AEG Live is a money-making company …They didn't want to help Michael do a comeback. They wanted Michael so they could make money, and that's why they did it."
On June 25, 2009, the world famous entertainer died from an overdose of the anesthetic propofol at a home he was renting in Los Angles, just as he was gearing up for his comeback tour at London's 02 Arena. Very quickly after the death of the popstar, blame fell on Jackson's doctor who had been administering propofol to help the singer sleep. In 2011, Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for giving the drug to the star in a criminal trial. Murray was sentenced to four years in prison.
In this civil trial, 83-year-old Katherine alleged that AEG Live was negligent when it hired an incompetent doctor and also the company ignored red flags about the star's failing health so that they could profit. However, the jury did not agree with such claims.
Had the verdict sided with the family, the Jacksons wanted AEG Live to pay $85 million to each of the star's three children, Prince, Paris, and Blanket, for emotional loss, as well as an unspecified amount, which is believed to be up to $1.6 billion.
AEG Live's lawyers said the Jackson family's figures were "absurd" and "speculation and guesswork," since it was based on Jackson being able to tour until he was 66 years old.
Panish said in Thursday's closing argument that the "Bad" singer was 20 percent responsible for his demise.
An important issue in the trial was whether or not AEG Live actually hired Murray before Jackson died. The jury decided that AEG had hired the doc and a key piece of evidence in that decision was a copy of a contract signed by the doctor, but neither AEG or Jackson, which was found in Murray's car after Jackson's death.
During the trial, Panish showed nine emails, which includes one particularly damning one from AEG executive Paul Gongaware. "We want to remind (Murray) that it is AEG, not MJ who is paying his salary," said Gongaware.
Despite the fact that AEG hired the guilty doctor, the tour company seems to have gotten out of this mess relatively unscathed.