Five Michael Jackson fans have been awarded symbolic damages of one euro each by a French court for the “emotional damage” they suffered after the pop star’s death.
The case, held in the french city of Orleans, saw 34 fans sue Jackson’s doctor Conrad Murray, who was convicted in 2011 for the involuntary manslaughter of the singer. He had served two years of a four-year term for administering a lethal dose of an anaesthetic drug to Jackson and was released in October.
The court ruled in favour of five fans, two from France, two from Switzerland and one from Belgium, who had proven sufficient emotional suffering. All the plaintiffs were part of a fan club known as the Michael Jackson Community based near Orleans in central France.
The BBC reports, their lawyer, Emmanuel Ludot told the AFP news agency that “with the help of witness statements and medical certificates” the five case-winning fans had proven their emotional suffering. “As far as I know this is the first time in the world that the notion of emotional damage in connection with a pop star has been recognised,” he said.
“They have been subjected to ridicule and I am delighted their suffering has been taken seriously by the law.” He said the awarded damages were symbolic and the claimants would not be seeking to obtain the one euro each from Conrad Murray.
Instead he said they hoped their symbolic status as distressed victims would help them gain access to Jackson’s grave in Los Angeles, which is closed to the public. Michael Jackson died on 25 June 2009 from an overdose of the anaesthetic propofol, which was found to have been administered by Murray.
Murray was released from prison last October after serving two years of a four-year term as part of an initiative to reduce prison overcrowding in California. Last month, a court rejected Murray’s appeal to have his conviction of involuntary manslaughter overturned.