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Wrongful death trial will revisit Michael Jackson's troubled life

Many Michigan residents are aware that Michael Jackson's mother, Katherine Jackson, as well as his three children are in the midst of suing AEG Live and a tour director for the wrongful death of the late musician. Michael Jackson died of acute propofol and benzodiazepine intoxication after suffering a cardiac arrest in 2009. His personal physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, was later convicted of involuntary manslaughter in relation to the death.

AEG Live was the concert promotion company that was working with Michael Jackson shortly before his death in preparation for a comeback tour. AEG reportedly hired and managed Murray, who administered the fatal doses of propofol, a hospital anesthetic. The Jackson family is accusing AEG and the comeback tour director of negligent hiring resulting in Michael Jackson's wrongful death.

The Jackson family is seeking $40 billion in damages, which is the amount that they believe Michael Jackson would have earned had he not died.

AEG has maintained it is not liable for wrongful death, because Michael Jackson had addiction problems for decades and the company did not know Murray posed a risk. 

The plaintiffs, however, argue that the concert promoter pressured Michael Jackson to follow through with the tour although he was very unhealthy. A series of AEG emails reportedly show that AEG was aware of Jackon's fragile condition and that the company may have pressured Murray to get him well enough to perform.

One email reads: "We want to remind Murray that it is AEG, not MJ, who is paying his salary. We want to remind him what is expected of him."

The future and merits of this lawsuit remain to be seen. This case is an example, however, that families can file wrongful death actions in the aftermath of a death caused by negligence in order to obtain compensation for funeral expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering, among other things.

Source: The Daily Beast, "Inside the Latest Michael Jackson Trial-the One With $40 Billion on the Line," April 1, 2013

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