Jurors in the Michael Jackson wrongful death lawsuit will not have to decide one thing. Katherine Jackson has standing to seek damages against AEG Live because the evidence proves her son provided for “everything”, including her expenses and food, LA County Superior Court Judge Yvette Palazuelos said in a ruling Friday. The judge cited testimony from Katherine Jackson and a financial expert hired by AEG Live. The defense expert concluded that Michael Jackson paid for the “bulk” of his mother’s support. The judge wrote that the only evidence AEG had was that Janet Jackson gave her mother $10,000 a month for “some period of years.”
Lawyers for AEG unsuccessfully argued that Jackson’s mother could not sue because Janet Jackson also supported her.
“There is no evidence that Janet Jackson’s contributions negated Katherine Jackson’s reliance — to some extent — on [Michael Jackson’s] contributions for the necessaries of life,” Palazuelos ruled.
California law does not allow parents to seek wrongful-death damages if their offspring had other heirs, unless they can prove they were financially dependent.
Closing arguments will begin Tuesday in the already 5-month civil trial. The judge will change courtrooms to accommodate more people in the public gallery. The original courtroom can hold 60 people, but the larger courtroom can hold 300 people for closing arguments. The instructions to the jury will be read Monday.
Jackson’s mother and three children contend AEG Live is liable for Michael Jackson’s death because it hired, retained, and supervised Dr. Conrad Murray, who was convicted in Jackson’s death in 2011. Jackson died of a propofol overdose. AEG Live lawyers have argued it was Jackson who chose and controlled Murray. The executives had no way of knowing about the treatments that were being given in Jackson’s own bedroom.
Recently, the judge ruled in favor of AEG Live’s CEO Randy Phillips and a top-level exec Paul Gongaware. She dismissed Jackson’s lawsuit against them. Jackson had filed a negligent-hiring lawsuit against the two men along with the company in 2010 following Michael Jackson’s death in 2009.