Jackson's father files wrongful death suit
Saturday 26 June 2010
Michael Jackson's father filed a wrongful death lawsuit yesterday against the doctor charged with giving the pop superstar a lethal dose of sedatives one year ago, accusing the Nevada doctor of negligence, secrecy and poor training.
Joe Jackson sued Dr Conrad Murray on the anniversary of Michael Jackson's death in federal court in Los Angeles.
The complaint, which seeks more than £50,000, accuses Dr Murray of professional negligence for providing the singer with a mix of sedatives - including the anaesthetic propofol - that authorities say killed him.
Propofol is normally administered only in hospital settings, but Dr Murray had been providing Jackson the drug in the bedroom of the singer's rented mansion in Los Angeles.
Joe Jackson contends the physician tried to conceal his administration of the drug after Jackson's death.
The lawsuit also names medical clinics that Murray operates in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Houston, claiming they did not properly train or supervise the doctor.
The lawsuit was filed in federal court because Dr Murray's clinics are in other states and the doctor lives in Nevada.
Dr Murray has pleaded not guilty to an involuntary manslaughter charge filed in February. His attorneys have said that he did not give Jackson anything that "should have" killed him.
His civil attorney, Charles Peckham, repeated that assertion yesterday.
"We'd like to remind people that Dr Murray has not been found guilty of anything and we believe his innocence will be proven in a court of law," Mr Peckham said in a statement. "We've been told we were going to be sued for months so today's filing is no surprise to us."
Joe Jackson's attorney, Brian Oxman said there's a one-year deadline after a death to sue doctors in the state of California.
"It's an important thing for Joseph Jackson," Oxman said of the lawsuit after he personally filed it. "He wants justice for his son Michael."
The lawsuit came on a day when fans around the world were mourning Jackson. Joe Jackson was not seen at two of the marquee locations - the unveiling of a statue in the family's hometown of Gary, Indiana, and the Glendale, California, cemetery where his son is interred.
Joe Jackson's lawsuit claims Dr Murray repeatedly lied to paramedics and doctors about giving Jackson propofol. Using hospital records obtained earlier this year, the lawsuit claims Dr Murray told an emergency room doctor that he had only provided Jackson two medications, Valium and Flomax.
It also claims the doctor changed his story to police. Murray's attorneys have said detectives misinterpreted parts of Murray's statements, and their official timeline differs from what he says happened.
The lawsuit faults Dr Murray for not keeping adequate medical records. It also says Dr Murray used his clinics in Nevada and Texas to obtain drugs that were then given to Michael Jackson.
The Jackson family patriarch is seeking damages for a variety of issues, including loss of income and support, emotional distress, and pain and suffering.
It is unclear what money, if any, he'll be able to collect if he wins. Even before Jackson's death, Murray faced mounting debts and adverse judgments in several courts for unpaid bills and child support. His £100,000 a month contract to be Jackson's personal physician while the singer performed in a series of comeback London concerts was never signed, and his attorneys have said he is barely hanging on financially.
The complaint leaves the door open to additional defendants being added.
"Mr Jackson believes there are other parties responsible for Michael Jackson's death, but has not yet gathered sufficient information regarding their potential liability or responsibility," the complaint states.
Mr Jackson has filed a complaint against concert promoter AEG Live with the California Medical Board, alleging it was engaged in the illegal practice of medicine by allegedly guiding Murray's treatments of the singer.
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