(CNS) – Attorneys for AEG Live today won a delay until next year for the start date of the trial of Katherine Jackson’s lawsuit accusing the entertainment conglomerate of negligently hiring Dr. Conrad Murray to care for her late son.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Yvette Palazuelos ruled there was good reason to postpone trial from Sept. 10 until April 2 because of AEG Live’s challenge in obtaining all the information it needs from the opposing side to prepare a proper defense.
Lawyers for AEG Live filed paperwork with Palazuelos last week stating that the size of the litigation and a number of procedural issues have slowed the progress of the case. The documents also state that new information shows Michael Jackson had a history of drug abuse that began long before the singer met Murray.
Katherine Jackson’s lawyers stated in their court papers that the lawsuit under law is on a priority list for trial because one of the late entertainer’s two sons is under age 14.
“Here, it is indisputable that (Prince Michael Jackson II), born Feb. 21, 2002, and having suffered the tragic loss of his father, meets those requirements,” according to the Jackson lawyers’ court papers.
After today’s hearing, Jackson family attorney Kevin Boyle said he will weigh the option of filing a motion for a priority trial date because of the Jackson boy’s age. But he also said the new trial date may actually help his clients.
“The way we keep obtaining more information, it might be beneficial,” he said.
AEG Live attorney Marvin Putnam — who has called the Jackson case a “shakedown” of his clients — said even if Boyle files a motion for a priority trial date, the soonest it could be set is six months from the Sept. 10 date and nine months at the latest.
In additional court papers filed Monday, AEG Live attorneys state that deposition testimony from Katherine Jackson and two of her children revealed that Michael Jackson “had a decades-long history of severe substance abuse, including an addiction to prescription painkillers and repeated interventions.”
The information contradicts the Jackson family’s claims that AEG Live “somehow forced Mr. Jackson to receive dangerous medication from his physician,” according to the AEG Live court papers.
The more information that is obtained from the Jacksons increases the likelihood that it will “further undermine their case,” the AEG Live court papers state.
Jackson was set to perform a string of 50 shows in London for AEG Live, but he died June 25, 2009, of acute propofol intoxication in Los Angeles while rehearsing for the concert series.
The negligence suit was filed in September 2010 by Katherine Jackson on behalf of herself and her son’s three children, Michael Jr., Paris-Michael Katherine and Prince Michael, alleging the company was negligent in hiring Murray.
The complaint also alleges AEG Live is responsible for the medical decisions made by Murray, who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in Jackson’s death and was sentenced Nov. 29 to four years in prison.