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Michael Jackson trial: HR consultant talks Conrad Murray employment

August 20, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Michael Jackson died at the hands of Conrad Murray. Now during the wrongful death trial, accusations fly about who was responsible for hiring and controlling the doctor in the first place: Jackson or his tour promoter AEG Live.

An unsigned independent contractor agreement drafted by AEG has become a central document in the case. It spells out the terms of Murray's employment.

On Tuesday, AEG's witness, human resources consultant Rhoma Young, reviewed AEG's policies for retaining both independent contractors and employees. She described the agreement as unusual because it involved three parties.

"It was AEG acting on behalf of Michael Jackson to get his request honored. He wanted his personal physician to go with him," Young said.

She testified AEG operated within industry standards in human resources and that the company has a screening process for hiring employees and that independent contractors, such as Murray, are vetted differently. A doctor, Young stated, comes with a license.

Young rebutted the testimony of the Jackson HR expert, Jean Seawright, who testified that the doctor was in a high-risk, safety sensitive job and that AEG should have investigated the doctor's finances.

The Jackson attorneys assert that because Murray was about to lose his home and was behind in child support payments, he complied with Jackson's requests for propofol in order to keep his job as the star's personal physician for the tour.

The AEG witness says that there was nothing to indicate that Murray was in a high-risk position. She testified that credit checks were done for people who were being hired for high-ranking financial jobs, not doctors.

The Jackson attorney attacked Young's credibility, asking, "Have you worked on negligence and retention cases?" Her answer was no.

The plaintiffs also brought out from Young that AEG did not have specific criteria that spell out what the company should do before hiring, retaining or engaging an independent contractor.

On Wednesday, jurors will hear from more Jackson doctors about his request for propofol months before he died.


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