- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 11, 2014

It’s only symbolic, but still.

Fans of Michael Jackson’s music won damages in a French court of one euro each, or about $1.37, after the judge ruled Tuesday they suffered “emotional damage.”

Agence France-Presse reported that 34 fans sued Mr. Jackson’s doctor, Conrad Murray, in a court in the city of Orleans. Murray was jailed in 2011 for Mr. Jackson’s fatal overdose.

Five of the fans — two from France, two from Switzerland and the fifth from Belgium — managed to prove they suffered emotionally from the singer’s death and won the minuscule judgment, AFP reported.

“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,” their lawyer, Emmanuel Ludot, told AFP. He also gave kudos to the plaintiffs for “going through with the [legal] process despite the sneers.”

The five were able to prove their suffering by presenting the court with witness statements and medical records, Mr. Ludot said, according to AFP. He also said the damage awards were largely symbolic and that the five weren’t likely to pursue their claims for the money from Murray, who was just sent free from prison.

The case, however, does set a new legal precedent, said Philippe Brun, a law professor at Savoy University.

“If this ruling is appealed, I doubt it could withstand scrutiny because there is a contradiction between suffering emotional damage and the symbolic nature of the allocated sum,” he told AFP.

Mr. Jackson died in 2009. Murray was released from prison in October.

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