Suit dropped over Michael Jackson hospital stay

September 24, 2008 7:00:51 PM PDT
A family has dropped a lawsuit that claimed a hospital caused distress to a dying woman by moving her to make room for Michael Jackson during his 2005 child-molestation trial, an attorney said Wednesday. The relatives of Manuela Gomez Ruiz ended their case because of stress but felt the message of fair treatment to patients had been made, their attorney, James McKiernan, told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

"The defendants made it clear that it was going to be bare knuckles to the end," McKiernan said. "I'm representing people who have families and jobs, and the constant stress of this lengthy process was too much."

The court papers requesting the dismissal were filed Aug. 19. The trial had been scheduled to start next month.

The family said Ruiz, 73, had a heart attack the same day Jackson suffered flu-like symptoms during his trial. The lawsuit claimed Marian Medical Center kept Ruiz from critical care, moved her from a double room so Jackson could occupy it himself and subjected her to an "outrageous, circus-like atmosphere" in her final hours.

The lawsuit accused the hospital of inflicting emotional and mental distress. A judge dropped Jackson as a defendant in the case in April.

The singer was acquitted in the child-molestation case.


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