Jackson Legal Team Had 'Once-In-A-Lifetime' Experience
Several lawyers from the Bridgeport firm of Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder spent six months in Los Angeles as part of a plaintiffs legal team representing the family of Michael Jackson in a wrongful death lawsuit against the pop star's promoter.
The bad news for the Bridgeport bunch is the high-profile trial resulted in a defense verdict. But on the plus side, Bill Bloss and his colleagues got a full blast of what it's like to live on the left coast.
"The traffic outside downtown was indescribably bad. I will never complain about the drive to Stamford again," said Bloss, who, like his colleagues, helped the Jackson family lawyers with the medical malpractice aspects of the case. On the other hand, "downtown L.A. is starting to become somewhat trendy. There are lots of great ethnic restaurants. The Mexican and South American restaurants were outstanding."
Despite the disappointing result, Michael Koskoff said that "none of us would have missed this opportunity." He and the Jackson family lawyers are reviewing the record now to determine if there will be an appeal.
Jackson's mother and his three children sued Jackson's concert promoter, AEG Live Inc., claiming AEG is responsible for Jackson's 2009 death because the firm hired and supervised Dr. Conrad Murray, who administered the medication that led to Jackson's overdose death. Murray was convicted in 2011 for involuntary manslaughter in connection with the case.
The Jackson family lawyers believe that AEG created a conflict of interest that caused Murray to engage in risky medicine. He was being paid $150,000 a month to take care of Jackson on what promised to be a lucrative concert tour. If the tour didn't happen, the doctor would not get the money.
But ultimately the jury accepted AEG Live lawyers' arguments that the company was not negligent because its executives had no way of knowing that Murray — licensed to practice in four states and never sued for malpractice — was a risk to Jackson.
The Koskoff firm lawyers spent a great deal of time working on the Jackson case, and juggling their Connecticut caseloads, but they also had some time to explore Los Angeles.
Bloss spent a few days reviewing raw movie footage of Jackson's concert rehearsals at the Sony movie lot in Culver City. "That was interesting in itself, but the studio was right next to a lot where Sony was storing various cars and trucks used in movies and shows," Bloss recalled. "The race car from Talledega Nights was there. So was the Green Hornet's car, and Walter White's RV rolling meth lab from Breaking Bad. Sony had no problem with our wandering around and checking them out."
Other impressions of LA? "One thing that surprised me was how many local sites can be recognized from scenes in movies and TV shows," said Bloss. "I went out to a beach in Malibu one weekend, and it looked vaguely familiar — there was an unusual cliff formation right along the beach. It turns out that the iconic closing scene in the original Planet of the Apes movie, where Charlton Heston discovers the ruined Statue of Liberty on the beach, was filmed there.