As currently reported in the press, Catherine Middleton (the Duchess of Cambridge) sued the French magazine Closer for publishing topless photos of her sun-bathing, and she and her husband were awarded €100,000 in damages by a court in Paris. She originally asked for up to €1.5 million.
While I find it highly reprehensible to take and publish photos of someone in a private situation, I am suprised at the amount of damages, both the original claim and the award.
While having (semi-)nude pictures of oneself being published is demeaning and humiliating, no permanent damage was done, so I would have expected a lower amount, To give some context, even for serious injuries, such as lost limbs, the damages awarded for pain and suffering (pretium doloris) are usually five-digit Euro sums. For example, in this case the victim of a traffic accident was paralyzed and was awarded €40,000 for pain and suffering (Souffrances endurées / pretium doloris).
Now, granted, in cases with physical injuries the total award is usually much larger then just the award for pain and suffering, because there are also huge costs to cover (medical bills, loss of income, cost of building alteration etc.) - but in the case of the Catherine Middleton there are no such damages, as far as I can see. So:
- Under which law(s) and for what type of damage did the court the sum of €100,000? Was it only for emotional pain and suffering?
- Why is the amount so high compared to the sums awarded for life-changing injuries? Does it include punitive damages?
- Unfortunately, while there are many reports in the press, I could not find any that gives details as to the legal aspects, nor could I find the court judgement anywhere.
- I realize that the judgement was for a total of €190,000, because the court also imposed criminal fines, but I am not asking about these fines.