Michael Jackson doctor lawsuit going to trial
A judge has dismissed all but one count in a lawsuit by Michael Jackson's mother against concert giant AEG Live, which hired a doctor who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the pop superstar's death.
Superior Court Judge Yvette Palazuelos' ruling on Thursday (US time, Friday NZ time) meant Katherine Jackson would have a trial on her claim that AEG negligently hired and supervised former cardiologist Conrad Murray.
The ruling dismisses claims AEG could be held liable for Murray's conduct and breached its duty to properly care for the pop superstar.
AEG Live was promoting a series of comeback concerts by Michael Jackson in London titled "This Is It."
Jackson died in June 2009 while in final preparations for the shows after Murray administered a lethal dose of the anesthetic propofol in the singer's bedroom.
Katherine Jackson's lawyer Kevin Boyle was not immediately available for comment but argued at a hearing on Monday that AEG controlled Murray's actions and failed to properly investigate him before agreeing to pay him to work as the singer's physician.
He cited Murray's debt problems as a red flag AEG should have spotted and contends the company created a serious conflict between his responsibility to Jackson and his own financial wellbeing.
Jackson died at age 50 before a contract that would have paid Murray $150,000 a month was finalised.
AEG lawyer Marvin Putnam has said Murray was not employed by the promoter and he expected the company to win at trial.
He said Katherine Jackson's lawyers would be unable to prove AEG should have foreseen that Murray was a danger to the Thriller singer.
A trial is scheduled to begin April 2.