January 16, 2014 / 1:17 AM / 5 years ago

Michael Jackson's estate, Lloyd's of London settle insurance dispute

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The insurers of Michael Jackson’s ill-fated “This Is It” London comeback concerts on Wednesday have settled out of court with the late King of Pop’s estate over a $17.5 million policy, the attorney for Jackson’s estate said.

U.S. pop star Michael Jackson gestures during a news conference at the O2 Arena in London March 5, 2009. Jackson said he will hold a series of final concerts in Britain later in the year. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

The settlement caps three years of litigation between underwriter Lloyd’s of London Ltd and Jackson’s estate over the insurance policy. The case was scheduled to go to trial next month.

“The estate and Lloyd’s of London are glad this matter got resolved,” Jackson estate attorney Howard Weitzman said in a statement. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The insurer had previously asked Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Malcolm Mackey to nullify the policy, saying they were never told that Jackson was taking powerful drugs.

Jackson died in 2009 in Los Angeles from an overdose of surgical anesthetic propofol while prepping for his series comeback concerts.

The insurance policy was taken out to cover the cancellation or postponement of the London concerts in the case of the death, accident or illness of Jackson.

The possibility of the case heading to trial could have brought testimony again about the private life and final days of the “Thriller” singer months after it was put on display in a wrongful death suit filed by Jackson’s family against the concerts’ promoter, AEG Live.

AEG Live, which a Los Angeles jury found not liable in Jackson’s death, was also initially named in the Lloyd’s of London lawsuit, but the promoter dropped its claim in 2012 after leaked emails showed company executives were concerned about the singer’s stability ahead of the performances.

The promoter, a division of privately held Anschutz Entertainment Group, said at the time that it was reimbursed by Jackson’s estate for its concert-related losses.

Lloyd’s of London claimed in the suit that AEG Live or Jackson or his company knew but did not disclose that the singer was taking propofol, which is usually restricted to use in hospitals.

Witnesses had testified in the trial between AEG Live and Jackson’s family that Jackson had the drug administered to him so he could sleep.

Reporting by Eric Kelsey; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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