Thanks to TMZ.com (I really do love TMZ because they get copies of all of the good court documents and post them right on their website for everyone to read), for some light reading on a Saturday afternoon I was able to download and review the 18-page lawsuit filed by Katherine Jackson against AEG on September 15. Unlike Joe Jackson's wrongful death lawsuit filed against Dr. Conrad Murray back in June, Katherine Jackson's lawsuit claims that AEG breached "multiple duties of reasonable care" owed to Michael Jackson with regard to the written joint venture agreement AEG and Jackson entered into in January 2009 to produce a series of live concerts, thereby directly causing Jackson's untimely death.
According to Katherine Jackson's lawsuit, the written agreement between AEG and her son provided that AEG would "put up the funds and production expenses" for the concerts and Jackson would provide "the talent and fame to make the venture a success." The complaint states that AEG advanced large sums of money to Michael Jackson and provided him with a place to live during rehearsals and if the tour flopped, then AEG could seize Jackson's assets, including his stake in the Sony/ATV song catalogue, to recover its losses, thereby forcing Jackson to uphold his end of the deal despite ongoing health problems.
Rehearsals for the tour began in April 2009 and when Michael Jackson missed some rehearsals in May 2009, the complaint claims that AEG executives became concerned and insisted that Michael stop seeking treatment from his own physician, Dr. Arnold Klein, and instead hired Dr. Conrad Murray. This, in turn, directly caused Michael's death: "By injecting themselves between Michael Jackson and his treating physician, and telling Michael Jackson what to do medically, AEG committed independent negligence as against Jackson." There is also a claim that Michael Jackson's son, Michael Joseph "Prince" Jackson, Jr., "suffered great trauma and emotional distress" by witnessing the injuries caused by AEG that led to his father's death (Jackson's other two children, Paris Katherine Michael Jackson and Prince Michael "Blanket" Jackson II, are not part of this claim).
What is Katherine Jackson seeking on behalf of herself and Michael Jackson's three minor children? Economic, non-economic and exemplary/punitive damages as proved at the time of trial, as well as legal fees and costs - in other words, millions and millions of dollars in damages by causing Michael Jackson's children to lose their father, his mother and father to lose their son, his siblings to lose their brother, and the world to lose "its most celebrated entertainer." (Hmm, I wonder if this last group included among those harmed by AEG - the world - is an invitation for MJ fans to join in the lawsuit so that they can get some money too?)
The day after the lawsuit was filed, AEG released a statement through its attorneys, calling the lawsuit "inaccurate, unsubstantiated and meritless." The only thing that is guaranteed by this lawsuit is a long and drawn out court battle that will keep Michael Jackson's estate open for years to come.