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Judge allows use of e-mails in Jackson family wrongful death suit

Recently, the judge in the wrongful death case between the concert promoter AEG and the family of pop superstar Michael Jackson ruled that e-mails sent by the officials of AEG regarding Jackson's emotional and physical health could be entered into evidence. The wrongful death lawsuit stems out of Michael Jackson's death from prescription drugs in 2009, which the Jackson family blames on the company for pressuring him to rehearse for a world tour despite his poor physical and mental health and for hiring a certain doctor to be his physician. A court found the doctor guilty of involuntary homicide for medical negligence in prescribing Jackson painkillers. AEG argued that Jackson family members leaked the e-mails to the press in violation of the court's order, but the judge rejected that argument. The e-mails reveal AEG officials' doubts about Jackson's emotional stability and his ability to perform.

The term "wrongful death" covers a wide variety of situations. It covers situations where a person is exposed to toxic chemicals on the job, where a person is injured in traffic accidents or when a person is injured while in the care of a hospital or a nursing home. In this case, Michael Jackson was not in the care of AEG, but AEG allegedly pushed Jackson into preparing for a tour despite his poor health. In this way, his family argues that AEG breached a duty of care to him by creating the conditions that led to his death.

An employer has an obligation to ensure that an employee's health is not damaged while on the job. In this case, it is argued that AEG breached that duty by having Michael Jackson prepare for a tour that he was ill-equipped to go on, thus further damaging his already fragile health. Thus, it is argued that AEG contributed to Jackson's wrongful death through AEG's negligence.

Those who have lost a loved one or a family member to a wrongful death due to the negligence of another is entitled to recover monetary damages for their loss. They have a right to seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. Those affected by a wrongful death have a right to hold those responsible accountable.

Source: CNN, "Judge rejects e-mail ban in Michael Jackson death lawsuit," Alan Duke, Nov. 8, 2012

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