US judge lets Jacksons sue London gigs promoters

2nd February 2011, Comments 0 comments

Michael Jackson's family can sue the organizers of the London concerts that the pop icon was preparing to perform when he died in June 2009, a US judge ruled Wednesday.

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge denied a motion by lawyers for AEG Live to dismiss the case brought by Jackson's family, who allege that the stress the singer was under contributed to his death.

"I think the judge is very smart, and this was a great success for the plaintiffs," said Kevin Boyle, a lawyer for the family of Jackson, who died aged 50 of an overdose of a powerful sedative used to help him sleep.

The lawsuit was filed last September by his mother Katherine Jackson and his three children, Michael Jr., Paris-Michael Katherine and Prince Michael, also known as Blanket.

The family says AEG Live is responsible for decisions taken by Jackson's personal doctor Conrad Murray, who goes on trial in March charged with involuntary manslaughter.

It alleges breach of contract, fraud, negligence and infliction of emotional distress, saying Jackson showed signs of being "confused, easily frightened, unable to remember, obsessive and disoriented" in the months before his death.

The London "This Is It" concerts, a series of 50 sold out shows that Jackson himself said would serve as a "final curtain," were to kick off in July 2009 as his first major concerts in more than a decade.

But rather than cutting back on rehearsals, AEG "insisted that he attend every rehearsal in a grueling schedule, threatening that if he missed even one more they would cancel the tour," his mother alleged.

AEG lawyers have denied the charges, saying the firm did not choose to hire Murray.

AEG says Jackson "was not helpless or incompetent; he lived in his own home, negotiated his own contracts, engaged his own attorneys and cared for his own family."

It was "not foreseeable that Michael Jackson or anyone else was going to die in their own home of propofol," said AEG lawyer Marvin Putnam.

But judge Yvette Palazuelos denied the AEG plea for the lawsuit to be dismissed, and scheduled a new hearing for March 22 to consider the case further.

© 2011 AFP

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