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Suit over hiring of Jackson doctor goes to trial

The singer’s mother claims concert promoter negligently hired cardiologist Conrad Murray

Image Credit: AP
FILE - In this Monday, Feb. 28, 2005 file photo, Michael Jackson follows his mother, Katherine Jackson, as they arrive for court on the opening day of his child molestation trial at Santa Barbara County Superior Court in Santa Maria, Calif. A Los Angeles judge indicated Monday Feb. 25, 2013 that she is inclined to allow a lawsuit by Katherine Jackson against concert giant AEG Live to go to trial on a single claim. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

Los Angeles: A judge has dismissed all but one count in a civil lawsuit by Michael Jackson’s mother against concert giant AEG Live, which hired a doctor who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the singer’s death.

Superior Court Judge Yvette Palazuelos’ ruling on Thursday means that Katherine Jackson will have a trial on her claim that AEG negligently hired and supervised former cardiologist Conrad Murray. The ruling dismisses claims that AEG could be held liable for Murray’s conduct and breached its duty to properly care for the pop superstar.

AEG Live was promoting a series of comeback concerts by Michael Jackson in London titled ‘This Is It’. Jackson died in June 2009 while in final preparations for the shows after Murray administered a lethal dose of the anaesthetic propofol in the singer’s bedroom.

Katherine Jackson’s attorney Kevin Boyle was not immediately available for comment but argued at a hearing on Monday that AEG controlled Murray’s actions and failed to properly investigate him before agreeing to pay him to work as the singer’s physician.

He cited Murray’s debt problems as a red flag that AEG should have spotted and contends the company created a serious conflict between his responsibility to Jackson and his own financial well-being.

Jackson died at age 50 before a contract that would have paid Murray $150,000 (Dh550,949) a month was finalised.

AEG attorney Marvin Putnam has said Murray was not employed by the promoter and he expects the company to win at trial. He said Katherine Jackson’s lawyers will be unable to prove that AEG should have foreseen that Murray was a danger to the ‘Thriller’ singer.

A trial is scheduled to begin on April 2.