AP Photo / Houston Chronicle; AP Photo / Nick Ut
AP Photo / Houston Chronicle; AP Photo / Nick Ut
UPDATE: Joe Jackson refiled his suit Nov. 30, adding AEG Live and Las Vegas' Applied Pharmacy Services, which sold propofol to Dr. Conrad Murray, as a defendant.
If ever there was a day when Joe Jackson had the world's undivided attention, it's today.
But rather than use the one-year anniversary of Michael Jackson's death to offer up an olive branch to wife Katherine or pay tribute to his son, he's instead using it to poignantly point the finger at the man he (and let's be honest, most people) holds responsible for the tragedy: Conrad Murray.
Murray's attorney stated that he and his client were most definitely "not surprised" by the filing.
As promised, Joe not only filed a wrongful death suit against the embattled doctor Friday afternoon, but is apparently looking to make a federal case of it, filing the no-surprises paperwork in federal court (Murray is not a California resident, so the patriarch couldn't file with the state).
In the long-threatened lawsuit, Joe alleges that Murray withheld vital information about Michael's health from paramedics that may have proven useful in their attempt to revive the King of Pop and also claims that Murray tried to hide evidence that was likely relevant to the pop star's death.
In addition to wrongful death, the suit alleges negligent hiring, training and supervision of Murray, saying his treatment was "below the standard of care and ultimately resulted in Jackson's overmedication and death on June 25, 2009."
The suit claims that Murray withheld Jackson's medical history from emergency room attendants, and initially only admitted to administering three drugs to the singer, who was checked into the ER under the name Soule Shaun. None of the drugs Murray copped to doling out were propofol, which Jackson had been receiving for four months. Of the roughly 20 prescriptions doctors found at Jackson's bedside, only one had been named by Murray.
Per the lawsuit, the omission "demonstrated a disregard for Michael Jackson's life."
The suit also takes issue with Murray's conflicting statements to police, routinely revised version of events and incorrect administration of medications, chief among them propofol.
Murray, it stated, "did not know how to use the drug. It was an extreme deviation from the standard of care, grossly negligent, and reckless for him not to have called the paramedics immediately."
Also among Joe's claims is that Murray instructed the security guard on duty to "conceal bottles of propofol, place them in a bag, and clean up the room…Alberto Alvarez told police Murray asked him to call 911 only after the drugs were concealed."
In the end, the 911 call came one hour and 30 minutes after Murray first discovered Michael not breathing, at 10:52 a.m. His death was called at 2:26 p.m.
In terms of negligence, the suit says Murray failed to recognize or treat Michael's underlying conditions, claiming that in the months leading up to his death, the singer was "confused, easily frightened, unable to remember, obsessive and disoriented. He had impaired memory, loss of appetite and absence of energy."
All of these symptoms, as well as near-constant shivering and cold, were allegedly left either untreated or improperly treated by Murray.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified, but no doubt hefty, monetary damages from Murray, who's not exactly flush with cash as it is. Joe is seeking a minimum of $75,000, the minimum amount permissible in a federal case.
Incidentally, the suit also stated that, despite previous claims, it was Murray who sought out and "solicited" the signer "to take care of his individual health needs."
Regardless, it's the second official finger that's been pointed at Murray in the last months, as he has already been charged with—and pleaded not guilty to—involuntary manslaughter.
And while the doctor is the only one shouldering the blame in Jackson's suit, he's not the only one getting taken to task.
"Mr. Jackson believes there are other parties responsible for Michael Jackson's death, but has not yet gathered sufficient information regarding their potential liability or responsibility," the suit states.
First among those other parties is reportedly AEG, the promoters behind Michael's ill-fated comeback concert, and the ones paying for Murray to attend to the singer.
Jackson said the suit will be amended when he has the evidence to formally name more defendants.
In response to the allegations, Murray's attorney issued this statement:
"We continue to maintain Dr. Murray neither prescribed or administered anything that should have killed Michael Jackson. Dr. Murray is beloved by his patients because he is a compassionate, responsible physician dedicated to his patients' health. We'd like to remind people that Dr. Murray has not been found guilty of anything and we believe his innocence will be proven in a court of law. We've been told we were going to be sued for months so today's filing is no surprise to us."
—Reporting by Claudia Rosenbaum