Murray was the personal physician who was hired at a cost of $150,000 a month to tend to Jackson in the ramp-up to the singer's 50-date comeback concerts, which were slated to begin last July. To date, Murray is the only person charged in the case, and he is free on bail while he awaits trial on involuntary-manslaughter charges.
According to a copy of the suit provided by Jackson's lawyer, Brian Oxman, the action was filed against Murray and his two medical clinics, Acres Home Heart & Vascular Associates in Houston and GCA Holdings LLC in Las Vegas in federal court in California on Friday afternoon. The suit lists Jackson's mother, Katherine, as well as his three children, Michael Joseph "Prince" Jackson Jr., Paris Michael Katherine Jackson and Prince Michael Jackson II as "nominal" plaintiffs in the case.
Though Joseph Jackson has spoken out several times about the alleged role he believed concert promoter AEG Live played in his son's death — claiming that Michael was too sick and that AEG was pushing the frail singer too hard to play too many shows — AEG is not named in the lawsuit. The suit claims that, "Defendant's conduct of attempting to conceal the multi-state supply of drugs and the use of their facilities in Texas and Nevada to obtain medications was an extreme departure from the standard of care."
Murray's lawyer could not be reached for comment at press time.
The suit, which demands a jury trial, also claims that Joseph 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 complaint alleges that Murray withheld vital information about Jackson's health history — including a list of all the drugs he had administered to his patient — to paramedics who responded to a 911 call as well as to doctors at UCLA Medical Center attempting to revive the singer. At the autopsy for Jackson, the complaint also alleges that Murray "said nothing" about administering the surgical anesthetic propofol, which the coroner concluded caused Jackson's death.
It also claims that Murray's allegedly misleading comments to the head of UCLA's Emergency Medical Department, Dr. Richelle Cooper, and to first responders were "designed to conceal the inter-state shipment of medications utilizing defendant's multi-state facilities and Texas and Nevada drug registrations to obtain medications in California."
The suit rehashes the fitful last night of Jackson's life, during which Murray allegedly gave the singer a cocktail of drugs in order to help him sleep, noting that "defendant claimed he was continuously at Michael Jackson's bedside and was monitoring him with a pulse oximeter [which measures the level of oxygen in a patient's blood and is used as a precaution when administering IV anesthetics]. However, when police searched the house, they found the pulse oximeter in the closet in the next room."
After finding Jackson unresponsive, the suit claims Murray gave the singer an anti-overdose medication called Romazicon, which has "no effect on propofol ... the dose given was inadequate for Ativan. It was improperly administered. Defendant did not know how to use the drug." Before 911 was called, the complaint alleges that a security guard named Alberto Alvarez told police Murray instructed him to conceal bottles of propofol, "place them in a bag and clean up the room."
It also claims that nearly 90 minutes elapsed between the time he discovered Jackson unresponsive and the 911 call and that after police discovered that Murray spent 47 minutes on his cell phone during that period, the doctor "altered his version" of events on the day of Jackson's death. "The reason defendant felt he could change his story was because he kept no medical records documenting his treatment" as required by law.
Joseph Jackson claims he has suffered more than $75,000 in damages — the minimum amount required to get a case into federal court — as a result of Murray's alleged negligence. Those alleged losses include wages and earnings, services, affection, income and support, medical expenses for treatment of physical and emotional injuries and other damages not yet named.
MTV will be remembering the life and music of Michael Jackson all weekend. Don't miss the one-hour special "Michael Jackson's Influence on Music," airing tonight at 6:30 p.m. on MTV.