Michael Jackson's mother, Katherine Jackson, and his three children say AEG Live, the concert promoter for MJ's "This is It" tour, should pay them a hefty lump sum to account for the money MJ would have made, had he not died, and also to account for the personal suffering from the loss of a son and father.
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The Jackson family says AEG is responsible for negligently hiring, retaining or supervising Dr. Conrad Murray, the man found guilty in 2011 of involuntary manslaughter in Jackson's death.
Brian Panish, the Jackson family attorney, gave his closing augment Tuesday in a Los Angeles courtroom. Panish said Jackson “danced, walked, moon walked on this earth for nearly 50 years… someone like that only comes around every so often. We may never see the likes of Michael Jackson ever again… That gift came at a huge price.”
According to CNN's Alan Duke, Panish asked the jury to award the Jackson family a sum of between $1 billion and $2 billion to account for the money MJ would have made touring had he not died, and also to account for the personal suffering from the loss of a son and father.
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Panish gave the jury an estimate of what MJ would have earned during the three years of his "This is It" tour. He said he based his guideline for what the jury should award the family on an expert estimate on AEG's own projections. Panish told the jurors the Jacksons should be awarded about $1.6 billion in economic damages, and that estimate does not even include movies or other things MJ could have done throughout the rest of his career. Panish told the jurors the sum is just a guide, and that they can add as much as they want to that amount if they determine AEG has to pay the Jackson family.
For non-economic damages, Panish gave the jury an estimate of 290 million - $35 million for Katherine and $85 million for each of the kids. Katherine's sum is based on life expectancy.
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So what about what AEG says? As closing arguments stretched into their second day Wednesday, AEG attorneys got their final chance to tell jurors why the company shouldn't have to hand over a huge sum to Jackson's family.
AEG Live attorney Marvin Putnam said that this lawsuit has made it possible for AEG to get access to “Jackson’s most personal, most private material,” including financial records that show the pop icon was almost half a billion dollars in debt and that the house of his mother, Katherine, was almost in foreclosure. Putnam's point to the jury was that MJ never would have made as much money as Panish claims, because he was just in too much debt. Plus, Putnam said it was Jackson who insisted on having Murray on the tour and that he was solely responsible for paying the doctor, who admitted to giving Jackson the drug propofol for 60 days straight to treat his insomnia, before he ultimately died on June 25, 2009 from a fatal overdose of the surgical anesthetic.
So should Jackson's mother and kids get as much as $2 billion, possibly more, from AEG? That's what a California jury will have to decide, and the jurors can essentially decide on whatever amount of damages they deem appropriate.