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Jackson attorney: Verdict form confusing in wrongful death suit

People all across Georgia are likely familiar with the details surrounding the death of pop icon Michael Jackson. In 2009, Jackson died after an apparent overdose caused by the anesthetic drug propofol, which had been administered by a doctor, Conrad Murray. After the tragic death, Jackson's mother filed a wrongful death lawsuit against AEG Live for hiring Murray, claiming that they were negligent in that decision.

The case was tried in front of a jury who ruled that AEG could not be found liable. However, their ruling has come into question after multiple jurors stepped forward to state that the verdict form they were using was confusing. 

According to multiple jurors, the form on which they were supposed to submit a verdict was structured in a way that made it impossible for them to rule in favor of Jackson's mother. There were five questions on the form, and all five had to be answered yes in order for AEG to be found liable. But because of the wording of one of the questions, jurors were unable to consider certain facts regarding Murray's competence which would have allowed them to answer yes. Because of this, they had to answer no to the question and AEG was let off the hook. 

Jackson's attorney argued that the use of the verdict form was inappropriate, given the complexity and nature of the case, and requested that the case be retried. But a judge tentatively denied the request and it is unknown if an appeal will be filed. 

Losing a loved one can be devastating for family members to cope with. When that loss is attributed to a negligent party, it can make the situation even more upsetting because there is a possibility that a death could have been prevented. In order to hold a negligent person or group accountable for a tragic loss, family members in Georgia may want to consider filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the appropriate party.

However, this process can be confusing and frustrating. The justice system is not without its flaws and there may be a number of areas where having an attorney who understands this process can be vital. 

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Jury in wrongful-death trial was confused, Jackson attorneys say," Kate Mather, Jan. 4, 2014

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