A court in Orleans, France has ruled that five Michael Jackson fans were able to prove that they had suffered “emotional damage” and awarded them each €1, or approximately US $1.36, for their trauma. The five were among 34 fans who sued Dr. Conrad Murray, the man who administered a lethal dose of anesthesia to the pop star, following Jackson’s death. The BBC reports that the fans, who were all members of a Michael Jackson fan club based in France and hailed from France, Switzerland and Belgium, used witness statements and medical certificates to prove their cases.
“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 recognized,” French lawyer Emmanuel Ludot, who represented the claimants, commented to the AFP news agency. “They have been subjected to ridicule and I am delighted their suffering has been taken seriously by the law.”
The attorney said that the fans would not be claiming their euro, but instead hoped that people recognized the verdict’s symbolism. Specifically, they hoped that it would help them gain access to Jackson’s Los Angeles grave, which is closed to the public.
The pop star died in June 2009, with a U.S. court convicting Murray of involuntary manslaughter in 2011. He served two years of a four-year term and was released in October as part of an initiative to reduce prison overcrowding in California. Last month, a court rejected Murray’s appeal to have his conviction overturned.