Entertainment

Michael Jackson promoter drops $17.5M claim over concerts

Michael Jackson's former concert promoter, AEG Live, has dropped a $17.5-million US insurance claim over the concert tour that was cancelled due to the 2009 death of the pop superstar in L.A.
Michael Jackson was preparing for 50 London concerts on the This is It tour at the time of his death. A lawsuit over the cancelled concerts has been dropped. (Getty Images)

Michael Jackson's former concert promoter, AEG Live, has dropped a $17.5-million US insurance claim over the concert tour that was cancelled due to the 2009 death of the pop superstar in L.A.

AEG Live had sued London insurance company Lloyd’s, claiming it lost millions when Jackson failed to fulfil his contract for 50 This is It concerts. Lloyd’s had countersued, saying AEG made false claims about Jackson's health.

Last week, emails were leaked by the Los Angeles Times that showed the company had concerns about the pop star’s stability as he was preparing for the London comeback tour.

But AEG attorney Marvin Putnam denied the leaks had any relation to the decision to drop the lawsuit. He said AEG had been reimbursed by the Jackson estate for its concert-related losses and told a judge on Monday it was withdrawing its insurance claim.

Jackson died in June 2009 at age 50 from an overdose of the powerful anesthetic propofol after taking a cocktail of sleep aids and prescription medications. The popstar’s doctor, Conrad Murray, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter last fall.

Email leaks blamed on Jackson family

AEG Live still faces a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Katherine Jackson, the mother of the late musician, who claims the concert producer is responsible for his death because it was pressuring him to carry on with the tour. That case is scheduled for trial next year.

AEG lawyers suspect representatives for the Jackson family may have leaked emails between AEG executives that appeared to show they knew the singer’s mental health was fragile.

Randy Phillips, chief executive, concert division, AEG Live, sent a message in March 2009 from London at the time Jackson was announcing the concert tour. 

"MJ is locked in his room drunk and despondent," Phillips told his boss in the email. "I [am] trying to sober him up."  

Lawyers for AEG, which has denied any wrongdoing, said most of the correspondence was produced as discovery in ongoing litigation. They said the messages that became public were incomplete and leaked to portray the company in a negative light.

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