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Jackson AEG Lawsuit Closing Arguments

Jackson AEG Lawsuit Closing Arguments

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - After 21 weeks of trial, closing arguments are scheduled today in a lawsuit by Michael Jackson's mother, Katherine Jackson, contending that the promoters of her son's never-realized London concerts were liable for his death by hiring and retaining Dr. Conrad Murray as the singer's personal physician.

The entertainer was set to perform a string of 50 shows dubbed ``This Is It,'' but the 50-year-old pop legend died on June 25, 2009, of acute propofol intoxication at his rented home in Holmby Hills while rehearsing for the concert series.

The 83-year-old Jackson family matriarch sued in September 2010 on behalf of herself and her son's three children, Michael Jr., Paris-Michael Katherine and Prince Michael, claiming that the company picked Murray to be Jackson's personal physician.

Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in Jackson's death and sentenced in November 2011 to four years in the Los Angeles County men's jail.

AEG Live attorney Marvin Putnam maintained his clients never hired Murray and that the cardiologist, in fact, had been one of many doctors who had treated the singer in the past. Putnam also said Jackson had a drug problem for years before he entered into any agreements to perform on behalf of AEG Live.

Putnam maintained that a proposed contract between Murray and AEG Live was never executed before Jackson's death. However, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Yvette Palazuelos found that a contract could be implied by various actions taken by the company, including discussions to pay him $150,000 a month.

Attorneys for the Jacksons maintain that AEG Live, in allegedly hiring Murray, gave little consideration to red flags showing that the doctor was in debt and not a board-certified cardiologist.

Palazuelos dismissed Timothy Leiweke, AEG Inc.'s former president and chief executive officer, and that company as defendants before trial. Several months into the trial, she also tossed all allegations against Paul Gongaware, co-chief executive officer of Concerts West -- a division of AEG Live -- and AEG Live President and Chief Executive Officer Brandon Phillips.

Testimony in the trial began April 29.

AEG Live is owned by Denver-based billionaire Philip Anschutz. Putnam represented another Anschutz entity, Crusader Entertainment, in a lawsuit by Clive Cussler. The adventure writer maintained in the January 2004 complaint that the studio breached a contract by not giving him final say on the script for the film version of his book ``Sahara.''

In May 2007, a jury rejected Cussler's claims and instead awarded $5 million to Crusader, which argued that Cussler breached a contract in his dealings with the production company, in part by criticizing the movie in the media.

The Jacksons' lead attorney, Brian Panish, has won numerous high-profile civil cases. Earlier this year he obtained a jury verdict of $8.3 on behalf of Loren Kransky in a first-in-the nation trial against DePuy Orthopaedics Inc.

The panel found the Johnson & Johnson subsidiary was negligent and produced a device with a defective design when it put the ASR XL hip implant device on the market.

 

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