Can Concert Promoter Recoup Michael Jackson Investment?

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Can Concert Promoter Recoup Michael Jackson Investment?

Sat Jun 27, 2009 @ 07:37AM PST

By Eriq Gardner

Michael-jackson-concert-2 What's next for AEG Live, the concert promotion company that is facing the prospect of refunding more than $85 million on 750,000 ticket sales for Michael Jackson's planned comeback tour that will never happen?

Mary Craig Calkins, an insurance lawyer at Howrey LLP, tells us that AEG's insurance carrier will eagerly await the results of the late singer's toxicology report from the autopsy. Most "key man" insurance policies cover accidental death, so the insurers will want to know if there were any drugs or foul play involved that would indicate something else.

California has statutes that prevent insurers from covering intentional, willful acts. In addition, if there were drugs involved, the insurance company will closely scrutinize what was previously disclosed on the insurance forms about Jackson's condition.

Most insurers eventually pay out, says Calkins, but she says "It's not unusual to have negotiations (between the broker and the insurance company) over even less a megastar than Michael Jackson."

The lawyer points to insurance difficulties in the aftermath of deaths to actors including Heath Ledger, Brandon Lee, John Candy, and John Ritter. 

Someone is going to be on the hook for a huge loss. But maybe not quite as much as news reports suggest. Calkins believes that not all purchasers of Jackson concert tickets will request an actual refund, preferring to hold onto their tickets as memorabilia items.

That gives us an idea. 

Considering the huge amount of interest in Michael Jackson, and the extensive preparations already made for the Jackson concert series, maybe AEG should consider staging a series of "tribute" concerts this summer, featuring many Jackson musical acolytes, with profits going to starving children in Africa. We Are The World, part two?

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The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to

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