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Michael Jackson’s mother Katherine Jackson (center) is seeking a new wrongful death trial because the verdict form and instructions the jury received were flawed, her lawyers say.
Katherine Jackson wants a do-over of her failed wrongful death trial because the verdict form and instructions given to the jury were totally off the wall, new documents obtained by the Daily News reveal.
Lawyers for the King of Pop’s 83-year-old mom signaled their intent to seek a new trial on Dec. 2, but the new paperwork made available Monday outlines the grounds of their argument.
They claim the jury never got a chance to tackle the heart of the case because their questionnaire “forced” them to focus too heavily on Dr. Conrad Murray‘s history and actions at the time of his hiring as Michael’s personal physician.
The jury never got a chance to debate Murray’s actions around the time of Michael’s June 2009 overdose death, they claim.
“The jury patiently sat through 86 days of trial, heard testimony from 57 witnesses and saw portions of over 800 exhibits, the bulk of which concerned the issue of whether defendant AEG Live LLC created an improper ethical conflict of interest between Dr. Conrad Murray and Michal Jackson that caused the desperate physician to make poor and rash decisions that ultimately led to the death of the patient entrusted to his care,” the Dec. 12 filing written by Katherine’s lawyers at the law firm Panish Shea and Boyle states.
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Lawyers for the King of Pop’s mom say the jury was never able to debate Dr. Conrad Murray’s actions around the time of Michael Jackson’s June 2009 overdose death.
After six months of trial and lengthy closing arguments in a Los Angeles courthouse, the jury retired to deliberate on Sept. 27.
“And then, suddenly and unexpectedly, it was over. The deliberations abruptly stopped before discussion on the most critical issues even began,” the new filing says.
The first two questions of the jury verdict form “forced the jurors to focus solely on negligent hiring and whether Dr. Murray was unfit and incompetent at the time of hiring — even if they believed that he became unfit and incompetent because of the conflict at a later time,” the filing argues.
“Both the verdict form and the modified (jury instructions) given to the jury were erroneous and misstated California law,” Katherine’s lawyers claim.
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The jury in the wrongful death trial was ‘forced’ to focus too heavily on the history and actions of Dr. Conrad Murray (right) at the time of his hiring as Michael Jackson’s physician, lawyers say.
“Without even being given the opportunity to deliberate on the negligent supervision and negligent retention claims, the jurors had no choice but to reach an unjust verdict on Oct. 2, 2013,” they argue.
Katherine sued concert promoter AEG Live in 2010, claiming the giant behind Michael’s doomed “This Is It” comeback concert series set up a dangerous conflict of interest and failed to properly supervise Murray despite obvious red flags.
AEG denied any wrongdoing, arguing that Michael personally hired his doctor and kept his use of the surgery-strength anesthetic propofol a closely guarded secret.
“(Asking for a) new trial is the first step before appeal,” Katherine’s lawyer Brian Panish told The News two weeks ago.
The Dec. 2 notice came as lawyers for AEG Live filed their own papers demanding that Katherine’s side pay $ 1.2 million in costs since the jury ultimately rejected her request for upwards of $ 1 billion in damages.
“It is tragic that plaintiffs refuse to accept the jury’s verdict and move on from this baseless lawsuit,” AEG Live’s lawyer Marvin Putnam said in a statement to The News. “As the world knows, Michael Jackson provided handsomely for his children and his mother in his will. Clearly this lawsuit was not originally brought — nor is it now being done — to meet their needs. It is time to let these children move on from this tragedy so they can properly recover from the loss of their father.”