The latest ruling leaves AEG Live as the solitary defendant in the ongoing legal battle with the Jackson family. The legal fight that Katherine Jackson and her grandchildren have put up for Michael Jackson’s wrongful death has suffered a blow on Monday, September 9 when the L.A. court judge dismissed the negligence lawsuit against the two executives who were sued along with their employer, concert promoter AEG Live. The ruling left the company as the only remaining defendant in the case now possibly nearing its culmination.
AEG CEO Randy Phillips and head honcho Paul Gongaware were sued for allegedly hiring Dr. Conrad Murray, the King of Pop’s personal physician at the time of his death four years ago who was consequently sentenced to four years in prison for involuntary manslaughter. Judge Yvette Palazuelos said Jackson lawyers failed to prove that the two AEG executives “control, direct or perpetrate” MJ’s drug use that ultimately took its toll on his unstable health leading to his death.
“This is a huge victory for Phillips and Gongaware,” whose reputation and good name, said AEG lead lawyer Marvin Putnam, have been “besmirched…without any basis whatsoever.” AEG insists that it was Jackson who hired Murray and instructed the doctor to administer the anesthetic drug that killed him.
With AEG as the sole defendant, the jury will have to decide if an internal company email sent by Gongaware saying, “We want to remind [Murray] that it is AEG, not MJ who is paying his salary,” that serves as evidence that it is the concert promoter who employed Murray, can stand against AEG’s claims that they did not have a contract with Murray and simply facilitated for Jackson.