When Joe Jackson sued for the death of his son Michael Jackson, Katherine Jackson initially said she wanted nothing to do with it. Now Michael's mother, who is also the guardian of his children, has started her own lawsuit against the concert promotion company that, she claims, pushed Michael to his death.
Katherine's lawsuit blames AEG for the King of Pop's death and seeks damages on behalf of Katherine and Michael's children. You can download and read the lawsuit here courtesy of TMZ.com.
Among other reasons, it accuses AEG of negligently hiring, failing to supervise and controlling Dr. Conrad Murray, the doctor who has been criminally charged for causing the death by using Propofol (and other drugs) to help Michael sleep, when it was not medically appropriate.
In the lawsuit, Katherine alleges that AEG and the other defendants interfered with the doctor-patient relationship and ordered Dr. Murray to do whatever was necessary to make sure Michael attended a rigorous rehearsal schedule. She claims that AEG knew Michael was having adverse reactions to Dr. Murray's treatments (to the point he was shivering in a warm arena in the summer and was disoriented) yet still insisted on him keeping a grueling rehearsal schedule that he could not physically handle.
In doing so, the company required (and handsomely paid) Dr. Murray to do whatever was necessary to cause Michael to perform, instead of acting to protect him, the lawsuit states.
The legal filing also details how AEG allegedly controlled Michael's financial affairs so significantly that he had no choice but to accept its demands. AEG paid him substantial advances and had the right to hold him responsible for all money it paid out for the concert promotion if he did not perform. AEG had the right to attach his assets and even said it would end his career if he didn't comply, the suit claims.
In response to the allegations, AEG's lawyer calls the lawsuit "inaccurate, unsubstantiated and meritless". He also claims that AEG did not choose, hire or supervise Dr. Murray, but instead, he was a longtime personal physician of Michael Jackson.
This lawsuit's focus on the financial control that AEG had on Michael's life, and the impact that it had on his death, is not surprising. As The Probate Lawyer Blog discussed just after Michael died, a British Journalist who knew Michael wrote a fascinating article about how Michael's death was caused by the lengthy concert schedule, which Michael had no choice to do because he was in so much debt. The article said that this journalist actually predicted Michael's death six months before it happened.
This lawsuit will be a very intriguing one to watch. AEG's defense that it didn't choose or hire Dr. Murray won't matter much if it truly convinced him to push Michael to extraordinary lengths to perform, when it knew he couldn't physically handle it (as the lawsuit claims). But, of course, AEG denies it did anything wrong. As the lawsuit progresses, we'll see who is telling the truth.
Posted by: Andrew W. Mayoras and Danielle B. Mayoras, co-authors of Trial and Heirs: Famous Fortune Fights! and co-founders of The Center for Probate Litigation and The Center for Elder Law in metro-Detroit, Michigan, which concentrate in probate litigation, estate planning, and elder law. Andrew and Danielle are husband and wife attorneys, professional speakers and consultants across the country. Follow us on Facebook and Google+.