Jackson family lawsuit can proceed against AEG

Thu Feb 3, 2011 6:14am EST
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By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A judge on Wednesday ruled the wrongful death lawsuit filed by Michael Jackson's mother can proceed against concert promoter AEG Live, setting up a legal showdown between Katherine Jackson and the company she blames for the "Thriller" singer's demise.

The lawsuit accuses AEG of being responsible for medical decisions made by Jackson's physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, whose care was funded by the company.

Murray is charged with involuntary manslaughter in connection with Jackson's June 25, 2009, death, age 50, from an overdose of the powerful anesthetic propofol which the doctor gave as a sleep aid and other sedatives and painkillers.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Yvette Palazuelos on Wednesday denied a motion by AEG, a subsidiary of the Anschutz Entertainment Group, to dismiss Katherine Jackson's case against the company.

But the judge said lawyers for the singer's 80 year-old mother would need to show evidence of fraud, negligent infliction of emotional distress and civil conspiracy.

Palazuelos said she had doubts about civil conspiracy, because there were no details in the lawsuit saying AEG and Murray had an agreement to break the law, in providing medical care to Jackson.

"If the object was to get him to rehearsals, I don't see that as a wrongful or illegal act," she said.

Jackson was preparing for his "This Is It" series of 50 comeback concerts in London when he died, and Murray was going to accompany him to Britain for the shows.   Continued...

<p>Michael Jackson's sister Rebbie (L) and mother Katherine leave the arraignment of Doctor Conrad Murray, the late Michael Jackson's personal physician, in Los Angeles, California, January 25, 2011. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson</p>