Michael Jackson's mother Katherine has been given permission to proceed with a civil lawsuit against AEG Live, the concert promoter she has accused of helping to spur her son's death by pushing him to rehearse for a series of comeback concerts despite his poor health and because it allegedly hired Dr. Conrad Murray.
AEG Live has denied any wrongdoing and had said Jackson was the one who had chosen Murray as his physician.
A Los Angeles judge recently turned down a motion by AEG Live to dismiss the lawsuit, which was filed on Sept. 15, 2010 and which claims the company is responsible for medical decisions made by Murray, the Associated Press said. The Jackson family's lawyers have 20 days to amend their complaint and a case management conference has been set for March 22.
Michael Jackson died at age 50 on June 25, 2009 at his Los Angeles home from an overdose of the powerful anesthetic propofol and two other sedatives that were prescribed and administered by Murray, who pleaded not guilty in January to a charge of involuntary manslaughter in the death of the King of Pop.
Jackson signed a deal with AEG Live to perform a series of comeback concerts in London, which were set to begin in July 2009.
The lawsuit suggests Jackson was forced to maintain a grueling rehearsal schedule and was showing signs of physical stress in the months before his death. It also accuses the company of failing to provide Murray with cardio-pulmonary resuscitation equipment and a nurse, as was promised in his employment contract.
It says that a week before Jackson's death, AEG CEO Randy Phillips visited the singer after he failed to show up for a rehearsal, adding: "AEG threatened that if Jackson missed any further rehearsals, they were going to 'pull the plug' on the show. AEG told Murray that he had to make sure Jackson got to rehearsals. They said it was to be 'tough love' and that they had read Jackson the 'riot act.'"
Jackson showed up for the rehearsal later that evening but was "visibly shaken" the suit said, adding that Murray later gave him a "cocktail of Valium, Ativan, Versed and Propofol" to get him to sleep. During the next few days, the singer appeared shivering and disoriented as he rehearsed.
Attorney Marvin S. Putnam, who represents AEG Live, was quoted by the Associated Press as saying: "It's not foreseeable that Michael Jackson or anyone else was going to die in their own home of propofol."