Attorneys Brian Panish, Deborah Chang and Kevin Boyle, for the
plaintiffs can be reached at (310) 477-1700. Marvin Putnam, Jessica Stebbins
Bina and Kathryn Cahan for AEG Live, (310) 553-6700.
By BILL HETHERMAN
City News Service
LOS ANGELES (CNS) – A memo written by an attorney for Katherine Jackson
nine days after AEG Live was found not liable in the death of pop super star
son Michael Jackson details the jury foreman’s recollections of the confusion
the panel had with the verdict form.
Katherine Jackson’s son, Michael Jackson, died June 25, 2009, at age 50
of acute propofol intoxication. The Jackson family matriarch sued in September
2010 on behalf of herself and her son’s three children — Michael Jr., Paris-
Michael Katherine and Prince Michael — claiming that AEG Live hired Dr. Conrad
Murray to be Jackson’s personal physician and failed to properly supervise him.
Jackson lawyer Deborah Chang wrote the memo Oct. 13 after interviewing
the jury foreman. She said he responded to an email she sent him.
Portions of the summation that appeared to list the foreman’s name and
email address are blacked out. However, the foreman identified himself in media
interviews after the verdict as Gregg Barden.
After nearly 14 hours of deliberations over four days, the six-man, six-
woman jury determined Oct. 2 that
did hire Murray as Jackson’s doctor,
but it answered “no” to question No. 2, which asked if Murray was “unfit or
incompetent to perform the work for which he was hired.”
With that answer, the jury denied any damages to Katherine Jackson and
the late Michael Jackson’s three children.
The Jackson lawyers say that once the jurors found Murray was competent
at the time he was hired, the panel could not go any further and examine his
“As given, these instructions and the verdict form were misleading and
erroneous in that they did not distinguish between a negligent hiring claim and
a negligent retention or supervision claim (what the employer knew or should
have known during the course of the relationship),” the Jackson attorneys’
state in their court papers.
By forcing the jury to stop deliberating after they concluded Murray’s
capabilities were up to par when he was hired, the form never allowed the
jurors to consider AEG Live’s separate ongoing duties relating to supervision
and retention, the Jackson attorneys’ court papers state.
Chang’s memo is one of several documents attached to the Jackson
attorneys’ motion for a new trial, which is scheduled to be heard by Los
Angeles Superior Court Judge Yvette Palazuelos on Friday.
“His (the foreman’s) initial thought: `Hell yes, Conrad Murray was
incompetent,”’ Chang wrote.
The foreman said he then showed his fellow jurors the contract that brought
Murray on board as Jackson’s tour physician and noted that he was hired to be a
“Murray was qualified to do that job,” the foreman said, according to
The foreman said he told jurors that if they answered “yes” to
question No. 2, their deliberations would be over, Chang wrote.
“Everyone alarmed; decided to go home and sleep on it and return the
next day,” Chang wrote. “He had them watch `This Is It’ movie to help keep
everyone from fighting.”
The foreman believed the actual vote on question No. 2 was 10-2 instead
of 12-0, Chang wrote.
“Polling in courtroom was very confusing; people did not answer
correctly,” the foreman said, according to Chang.
Only nine votes are needed in civil action.
The foreman “strongly believes question No. 2 had a flaw because it was
way too specific in time and scope; (it) did not allow jurors to consider the
negligent retention and supervision claims,” Chang wrote.
The head juror found it “very frustrating” that the question required
the panel to consider Murray’s fitness at the time of his hiring, according to
“Does not want to sound like a hypocrite, but in reality, he does feel
bad and wishes the question wasn’t so … specific,” Chang said of the
The foreman said deliberations began with a divided panel, with two
panelists who “made it clear they were going to award $1.6 billion to
plaintiffs no matter what,” Chang wrote. Two others said they would give the
plaintiffs nothing, the foreman said, according to Chang.
The majority of the jurors did not believe Michael Jackson was an
addict, the foreman said, according to Chang.
The foreman said he “did not care for any of the AEG Live witnesses”
because of their “I don’t know” answers to questions, Chang wrote.
The foreman said he does not believe 83-year-old Katherine Jackson lied
during her testimony and thought she “admirably stood up for her son all his
life,” Chang wrote.