LIFE OF BRIAN with Brian Hicks
I became a fan of top German singing star, Andrea Berg, after moving to Germany in 2011 and seeing her on TV. I went to several of her concerts.
Little did I realise that soon I would be suing her company, creating headlines throughout Germany.
In July 2014, I went to an Andrea Berg concert in a football stadium in Aspach, near Stuttgart, one of 10,000 fans there. It ended at midnight with a massive fireworks display.
I looked up and felt something hot and painful shoot into my eye. I immediately got treatment from the Red Cross team, who repeatedly washed my eye out with water. The three nurses caring for me said a lady had received similar firework injuries the night before, but was okay.
The pain worsened and, after a sleepless night, I went back to see the Red Cross director at the stadium. He found an emergency eye specialist, who diagnosed my cornea as badly burnt and wrote me off work for 10 days.
I asked the Red Cross to phone the concert organisers. They said, if I had a problem, I should write to the address on my concert ticket, Andrea Berg Tournee und Promotion GmbH, Andrea’s own company. I wrote, but received no reply.
I engaged a lawyer who wrote to the organisers, without response. He then started legal proceedings for €3,000 plus costs, and these came to court in Backnang in March 2016. The two companies who organised the fireworks denied liability. The judge awarded me €2,000 and my expenses.
A few weeks later Andrea’s company lodged an appeal, even though the costs would have been covered by the insurance company. This led to an expensive second hearing at a higher court, the Landgericht in Stuttgart on March 9, 2017. In the meantime, Andrea Berg was herself badly burnt at a concert by a dragon spewing fire, part of her act that misfired.
My lawyer, infuriated by Berg’s, asked his brother, who worked for the German press agency, DPA, to issue a press release days before the Stuttgart hearing. I was interviewed by Bild, Germany’s equivalent to the Sun, and die Welt. It spread like wildfire and articles appeared everywhere, including celebrity and women’s magazines. One comment was that Andrea could easily pay me from money in her handbag and did not care about her fans.
The chief reporter at Bild in Düsseldorf had spoken to Berg twice and told my lawyer that the other side would withdraw their appeal, but this did not happen. There were three female judges presiding over my case and seven print and radio journalists there covering the story. The lead judge asked where the representative of the organisers was. One lawyer said he had the authority to act for the company, but the judge was angry that Andrea was not there.
The judges told me the matter could be resolved if a fireworks expert was appointed to investigate everything, at my expense. My lawyer said it would cost over €4,000. I was given a fortnight to decide. The stories ran and ran, with Bild covering it four times. The other side offered me €1,127.50, with each side paying its own costs. Eventually, I had to accept as I had no legal insurance.
Andrea Berg’s personal lawyer approached me at the court. He told me that Andrea was sorry and wanted to offer me a ticket to one of her shows. I told him that I would accept the ticket if the fireworks were dropped.
For me the damage, not least to my pocket, was done and I transferred my allegiances to other German stars without the fireworks!
Andrea, in my opinion, had been poorly served by her lawyers and advisors.