If you were under the impression that only American courts wasted precious time and money on frivolous and meaningless lawsuits, you’ve never been to Orléans, France. Earlier today, an Orléans court declared that five people had legitimately suffered severe “emotional suffering” from the 2009 death of pop star Michael Jackson, and they are eligible for damages that should be paid by Dr. Conrad Murray, who served two years in prison for administering the fatal dose of propofol. Their prize to be collected from the former doctor? About $1.30 each.
The five MJ fans were originally part of a group of 34 people that brought the ridiculous lawsuit to court with the help of a French fan club known as the “Michael Jackson Community.” But the most absurd part of this isn’t the idea of the lawsuit itself or the fact that they were only awarded chump change. It’s that the whole thing was symbolic and they have no intention of pursuing financial gain, albeit enough for a pack of gum, from Murray. Instead, they just want to be eligible to visit Jackson’s grave, which is very wisely closed off from the public.
We can laugh all we want at this, but it actually sets a pretty awful precedent.
“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,” their lawyer, Emmanuel Ludot, told AFP.
He praised the plaintiffs for “going through with the process despite the sneers” it aroused.
He said they had proven their suffering “with the help of witness statements and medical certificates”. (Via the AFP)
Imagine if Chris Crocker had been able to sue people for publishing ugly photos or mean stories of Britney Spears instead of unleashing that horrible “Leave Britney Alone!” video on the world. Or think about Amanda Bynes’s and Lindsay Lohan’s fans filing a class action lawsuit against people for publishing their mugshots and making fun of their meltdowns. Most importantly, picture these situations playing out in California courtrooms. All of these psychotic fans would be millionaires.
Damn you, France. What horrible legal chaos have you wrought?
(Banner via Getty)
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