Jackson fans win ‘symbolic damages’
Court in Orléans rules that the death of the singer in 2009 caused plaintiffs ‘emotional harm’
Three French fans of Michael Jackson have won symbolic damages of €1 each after a court agreed the singer’s death caused them ‘emotional harm’.
The trio, from Gironde, Pas-de-Calais and Loiret, were among 34 fans suing Mr Jackson’s doctor, Conrad Murray, for the suffering they said they had endured.
Murray was jailed in 2011 for his part in the singer's death from an overdose two years earlier.
Yesterday, the District Court of Orléans ruled that five of the 34 applicants - the three French fans, one from Belgium and another from Switzerland - had proved emotional suffering caused by Jackson's death in 2009 and should receive €1 each in damages.
Lawyer Emmanuel Ludot praised the plaintiffs, who were members of a group known as the ‘Michael Jackson Community’, for ‘going through with the case despite the sneers’ it had aroused.
He said: “This is the first time, to my knowledge, that the concept of emotional harm in connection with the death of a pop star has been recognised.”
He said the case was remarkable because there was no personal relationship between the fans and Mr Jackson.
“The fans love Michael Jackson, but he did not know them,” he said.
The applicants had supplied the court with medical certificates to support their claims.
Mr Ludot said the plaintiffs would not try to claim the €1 from Murray, who was released in October after serving half of a four-year sentence for involuntary manslaughter.
But, he said: “The recognition of victim status will allow my clients to request access to the site of Michael Jackson’s grave in Los Angeles, which is closed to the public.”
Michael Jackson died in Los Angeles in 2009 from an overdose of the anaesthetic propofol while under Murray's care, as he rehearsed for a series of comeback concerts in London.