Michael Jackson Wrongful Death Suit Elicits Children’s Testimony

Prince and Paris Jackson, the children of deceased superstar Michael Jackson, have been deposed in a wrongful death suit brought by their grandmother Katherine Jackson against concert promoter AEG for the untimely death of their father. According to the complaint, AEG hired Dr. Conrad Murray to attend to Jackson to make sure that the singer got to rehearsals and performances. No employment contract had been signed at the time of Jackson’s death, although Dr. Murray was allegedly being paid $1.5 million and supplied with a house and other luxuries.

Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in 2011 for injecting the singer with a fatal dose of propofol. He had been Jackson’s longtime personal physician at the time of his death. Recently Murray refused to testify at a deposition, claiming that he would invoke his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination in response to any questions. He is serving his sentence at the Los Angeles County Jail.

If a person dies due to the wrongful conduct of another party, the decedent's heirs and other beneficiaries may file a wrongful death action against those responsible for the decedent's death. Wrongful death statutes vary from state to state.

The Estate Powers and Trust Law (EPTL), Article 5, Part 4, EPTL 213-217, is New York’s wrongful death statute. It sets out who may sue and what kind of damages can be recovered. These damages include:

  • Lost wages
  • Loss of support
  • Voluntary assistance
  • Possible inheritance

Damages might also include punitive damages if the death resulted from recklessness or depravity. New York also permits damages for pain and suffering. Children who have lost parents can be awarded substantial verdicts based on the loss of love, companionship, comfort, affection, society, solace, moral support, protection, advice and training.

When a loved one dies unexpectedly, consultation with experienced attorneys might reveal an actionable claim.

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