Federal Judge Declines to Hear Jackson Wrongful Death Case

By Tanya Roth, Esq. on November 03, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The suit brought by Joe Jackson, father of the late King of Pop Michael Jackson, has been dismissed from federal court. At a hearing on November 1, Jackson's lawyer agreed to dismiss the sole federal count in the case, leaving the remaining claims in the Jackson wrongful death suit for a state court to cope with. The judge did not fail to lay out for Jackson that he was unlikely to receive any monetary award from the claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act he presented to the court.

The Associated Press reports U.S. District Court Judge John F. Walter noted since the only federal claim in the case was brought under the ADA, other than that, he had no reason to keep the case in a federal court. The rest of the suit, based on the Jackson wrongful death claim, was a "creature of state law," according to Judge Walter. Jackson's attorney agreed to dismiss the ADA claim and re-file the whole suit in state court.

Once in state court, Jackson Sr.'s case is likely to join that by his wife Katherine, against concert promoter AEG, reports the AP. AEG was the promoter planning the concert series Jackson was working on when he died. Katherine Jackson's claims against the promoter include the failure to oversee Jackson's doctor, Dr. Conrad Murray. Jackson's attorney, Brian Oxman told the AP the suits would likely be joined. "Given the two cases pending, it makes no sense to have them separated," Oxman said. "It's a matter of practicality."

AEG says the case against the company is without merit.

Joined or separate, Jackson's suit still has issues to face down, even in state court. Attorneys for Dr. Murray say they will challenge the elder Jackson's standing in the wrongful death of his son. Under California law, parents may only bring a wrongful death action if they were financially dependent on the child who died. That requirement opens questions about the relationship between Joe Jackson and his son that the elder may not want asked.

Dr. Murray also faces involuntary manslaughter charges for the death of Michael Jackson. The AP reports his next criminal hearing is scheduled for early January.

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