Jury Finds AEG Live Not Liable for Michael Jackson's Death After Five-Month Trial in Jackson Family Lawsuit

October 02, 2013



Julie Fei
O’Melveny & Myers LLP                

Piper Hall
O’Melveny & Myers LLP

LOS ANGELES - October 2, 2013 - After five months of trial, a Los Angeles jury today reached a verdict after deliberating for three days, finding that concert promoter AEG Live is not liable for the death of Michael Jackson.  The Jacksons, who sued AEG Live in 2010, had asked the jury to find the company liable for Mr. Jackson’s death, claiming it had negligently hired, retained, or supervised Dr. Conrad Murray, Michael Jackson’s longtime personal physician.  Dr. Murray is currently serving a sentence for involuntary manslaughter after the pop star overdosed on the anesthetic propofol.

“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, it was not a tragedy of AEG Live’s making,” said Marvin Putnam of O’Melveny & Myers LLP, lead trial counsel for the defendants in the lawsuit.

During the lengthy trial, numerous witnesses testified about Michael Jackson’s decades-long history of secret drug abuse and his pattern of seeking out doctors who would give him the drugs he wanted.  Some of the most explosive testimony came from Jackson’s own medical providers, who testified that Jackson sought out and used propofol on several occasions over the years prior to his death.

The jury’s decision came after the Honorable Yvette M. Palazuelos previously threw out all of the Jackson family’s other claims, finding a lack of evidence providing any legal basis to support them, and dismissed parent company AEG, Inc. from the lawsuit.  The judge had previously thrown out a copycat suit filed by Michael Jackson’s father Joseph Jackson.

Judge Palazuelos also recently dismissed AEG Live executives Randy Phillips and Paul Gongaware from the trial after finding that they “did not control, direct, or perpetrate any of the activities in [Michael Jackson’s] home” that ultimately led to Jackson’s death, and they “committed no act directly related to the harm.”

“There was simply no evidence that anyone at AEG did anything wrong,” Putnam said.  “The win was a great victory for Mr. Phillips in particular, who was personally sued by the Jacksons.”

“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.”

“I am pleased that the jury recognized that this lawsuit was without merit, and the entire AEG family looks forward to putting this unfortunate chapter behind us,” said Dan Beckerman, President and CEO of AEG, Inc.

Plaintiffs repeatedly proposed that AEG Live throw in with them to settle the case with insurance money and no money out of AEG Live’s pocket.  AEG Live refused, citing their long and deeply held policy against paying out baseless claims.  Said Putnam, “Some people make the mistake of looking at AEG Live as an easy target due to their size and presence in Los Angeles.  That’s a mistake.”