Jackson lawsuit can't continue as filed


A lawsuit filed by the family of a woman who died at a hospital soon after she was moved to make room for Michael Jackson cannot continue as filed, a judge has ruled.

The family of Manuela Gomez Ruiz had sued Jackson and Marian Medical Center in Santa Maria, claiming she was kept from critical care after she had a heart attack on the same day Jackson was brought in with flulike symptoms during his 2005 child-molestation trial. Jackson was acquitted in the case.

Judge Rodney Melville -- also the judge in Jackson's molestation case -- on Tuesday allowed challenges to the complaint filed by attorneys for Jackson and the hospital, who had argued that the facts of the case didn't justify the complaint.

Melville gave the plaintiffs' attorney, James McKiernan, 30 days to redraft their complaint. McKiernan said he would refile the necessary documents.

The lawsuit said the 73-year-old Ruiz was on life support after a massive heart attack and was moved from a two-bed room so Jackson could occupy it by himself.

She was kept alive in an exam room using hand-pumped oxygen until she could be reconnected to a life-support machine, court papers said.

The lawsuit alleged she had another heart attack but the crowd milling around the pop star delayed her arrival at the critical-care unit. Ruiz died that night.

The complaint cites the "outrageous, circuslike atmosphere they orchestrated during the last hours of Manuela Ruiz's life and its obvious emotional and mental lasting effects upon the plaintiffs."