Entertainment & Sports Law

Despite defense verdict in Michael Jackson case, entertainment execs ponder potential liability

Despite a defense verdict Wednesday in the Michael Jackson wrongful death case, entertainment industry executives aren’t breathing a sigh of relief.

The case—in which a concert promoter would have found itself facing a potential verdict of $1 billion or more if had the jury sided with the plaintiffs—is prompting soul-searching about the way in which a megastar’s entourage is traditionally handled, Reuters reports.

Routinely paid for by third parties such as concert promoter AEG Live LLC, the defendant in the Jackson case, members of a star’s entourage could potentially be a major source of liability, executives now worry. The result likely will be new insurance requirements imposed on entertainers and a review of contractual standards, predicts senior vice president Lorrie McNaught of Aon/Albert G. Ruben Insurance Services Inc.

“The biggest stars all have doctors and their own staff,” McNaught says. So “if you have a security guard who winds up punching someone in the face or kills someone, who is responsible?

“Is it the artist, the bodyguard, the promoter? I think promoters will require stars to indemnify their own staff. Even if AEG was not held responsible, I still think this case will make attorneys find ways to tighten contracts.”

See also:

ABAJournal.com: “Jury mulls Michael Jackson case, as lawyer for family complains of defense counsel ‘smugness’”

ABAJournal.com: “Defense verdict reached in Michael Jackson wrongful death case: No award to singer’s survivors”

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