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Why Did the Michael Jackson Family Lose Their Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

By Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney, Michael P. Ehline Esq. Find answers to all your questions.

Michael Jackson was one of the world’s greatest musical geniuses to ever have lived. In 2013, four years after his death, his family filed a wrongful death claim against AEG Live LLC concert promoter Randy Phillips in search of answers. AEG hired the doctor who administered a fatal dose of the powerful anesthetic propofol. This doctor, named Conrad Murray, was since convicted of involuntary manslaughter in a related criminal matter.

The Michael Jackson Wrongful Death Case is Fascinating

  • What Is a Wrongful Death Suit?
  • Why Did Katherine Jackson File a Lawsuit Against AEG Live for Michael Jackson’s Death?
  • Why Did the Jackson Matriarch Lose the Case?
  • Need Help with a Wrongful Death Case? Contact Ehline Law Firm Today!

Jackson’s mother and her three grandchildren, Paris Jackson, Bigi Jackson, and Michael Prince Jackson Jr, claimed that AEG Live LLC failed to properly supervise Dr. Conrad Murray, which resulted in Michael Jackson’s death. It may be helpful to understand what a wrongful death case or claim is before discussing the case.

What Is a Wrongful Death Suit?

A wrongful death claim is a type of lawsuit filed when a person dies due to an individual’s negligent or deliberate action. These claims enable the estate or family members of a person who has died to sue the party legally responsible for the individual’s demise.

Although laws governing wrongful deaths vary by state, these types of lawsuits are typically filed by a representative of the deceased’s estate, often on behalf of the victim’s families affected by the demise of their loved one, and are often separate from a civil trial. (Read more here).

Why Did Katherine Jackson File a Lawsuit Against AEG Live for Michael Jackson’s Death?

Katherine Jackson told reporters that the concert promoter AEG live failed to notice signs that the pop star was struggling, as confirmed by a statement made by Kenny Ortega, who had noticed that Jackson looked frail just days before his passing. Michael Jackson’s mother also claimed that the company failed to properly supervise the doctor it had hired to care for Michael Jackson during the new tour.

The two lawyers that represented the Jacksons were Brian Panish and Kevin Boyle. During the trial’s closing arguments, Michael Jackson’s family attorney Brian Panish told the jury that AEG should pay personal damages of $85 million to all of Jackson’s three children, and $35 million to the pop star’s mother, in addition to economic damages.

Although he did not specify an amount for economic damages, Panish reminded the jury that a witness had testified about the amount that Jackson would have received if he had lived. This amount would have been between $1.2 and $1.6 billion from his new music, endorsements, tours, and the Las Vegas show he was contemplating.

Doctor Conrad Murray

Upon further investigation, the coroner determined that the cause of the King of Pop’s death was the surgical anesthetic propofol. The family claimed that the concert promoter hired Murray, the doctor convicted of manslaughter, to oversee Jackson’s health while he was on tour during his “This Is It” London tour. They also claimed that the entertainment company was responsible for his actions that ultimately led to the abrupt end of Jackson’s life.

Why Did the Jackson Matriarch Lose the Case?

AEG lawyers claimed that Jackson, not AEG Live, selected and controlled Murray, who admitted to giving Jackson nightly infusions of the drug that ultimately resulted in Michael’s tragic death. According to AEG Live’s lawyers, its executives had no means of knowing about the life-threatening drug Murray was administering to Jackson in the privacy of his bedroom.

Marvin Putnam, the defense’s leading lawyer, denied the claim that Murray the concert promoter hired Murray in his closing argument, claiming that AEG Live never had a contract with him. The company proposed a contract between Murray and AEG Live which would have paid the physician $150,000 per month in advance, but Jackson would have had to refund AEG Live for the costs.

The singer died before he signed the agreement, so Murray was never paid and never entered into a contract with AEG. This is what led to the Jackson family losing the case. The company stated that while the loss of the singer was a terrible tragedy, it was not the result of its actions. Jurors ultimately agreed and counted Michael Jackson responsible for his demise and Murray, who was not associated with AEG.

Need Help with a Wrongful Death Case? Contact Ehline Law Firm Today!

If a family member has died as the result of another’s action, you can file a claim against the party at fault for pain and suffering damages. Ehline Law Firm stands out from the crowd because our founder and primary attorney, Michael Ehline, is a former marine and an award-winning, self-made lawyer with years of experience.

Mr. Ehline and our legal team are experienced and aggressive Los Angeles wrongful death attorneys who can help you get the compensation you and your family deserve. Quit your search for a civil lawyer near you and visit Ehline Law for a free consultation. With us, you only pay if the company has won the case for you!

Michael Ehline


Michael Ehline in Tuxedo
Michael is a managing partner at the nationwide Ehline Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, APLC. He’s an inactive Marine and became a lawyer on the California State Bar Law Office Study Program, later receiving his JD from UWLA School of Law. Michael has won some of the world’s largest motorcycle accident settlements. He compassionately helps clients recover after serious injuries.
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