Michael Jackson‘s mother and his three children filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the promoters of a series of planned concerts by the singer before his death last year.
The civil lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court Sept. 15 by Katherine Jackson, accuses promoter AEG Live of “putting its desire for massive profits” over the health and safety of the “Thriller” singer.
It said that AEG was liable for the actions of Jackson’s personal doctor and alleged that the promoter had failed to provide proper life-saving equipment for Jackson.
“AEG’s action and inactions led to Michael Jackson’s death on June 25, 2009,” the lawsuit said, accusing the promoter of negligence, breach of contract and fraud.
A spokesman for privately held AEG Live, a subsidiary of the Anschutz Entertainment Group, said he had not seen the lawsuit and could not comment.
Jackson died of cardiac arrest at age 50 in Los Angeles in June 2009 after returning from rehearsals just days before the planned start of 50 London concerts.
Los Angeles coroner’s officials have ruled Jackson’s death a homicide and said he died mainly from a powerful anesthetic used as a sleep aid, as well as other sedatives and painkillers.
“The purpose of this lawsuit is to prove to the world the truth about what happened to Michael Jackson, once and for all,” Katherine Jackson’s lawyer Brian Panish said in a statement.
The singer’s personal physician Dr Conrad Murray, who was hired by AEG Live, has pleaded not guilty to a charge of involuntary manslaughter in Jackson’s death and is awaiting trial in Los Angeles.
Jackson’s family have previously expressed disappointment at the criminal charge against Murray, saying it does not go far enough. The singer’s father Joe in June filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Murray but did not name AEG.
Kenny Ortega, director of the planned “This is It” series of concerts, was also named as a defendant in Wednesday’s lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages.
The suit claims that Jackson appeared drugged and disoriented at rehearsals in the days before his death and that on June 24 he was shivering. AEG, it claimed, was aware of his condition but did not postpone any rehearsals or alter his “grueling schedule.”
The civil action also seeks damages for emotional distress on behalf of Jackson’s oldest son, Prince Michael, who the lawsuit said had witnessed his father injured and dying and “has suffered great trauma and severe emotional distress.”
Jackson’s sudden death caused a worldwide outpouring of grief and sent sales of his many hit records soaring after a career slump that had followed the entertainer’s 2005 trial and acquittal on charges of molesting a young boy.
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