The sordid details of the lawsuit and Cline’s own countersuit evoke an atmosphere of pure paranoia, not to mention infidelity and domestic abuse.
Cline’s ex-boyfriend Chaz Reetz-Laiolo alleged in the original suit that Cline had installed spyware on his computer in order to steal from his screenplays for her novel. Cline filed a countersuit, admitting that while she did install the spyware, it wasn’t for stealing her ex’s intellectual property, but for keeping tabs on him romantically.
In dismissing the suit the presiding judge wrote:
“The commonalities Reetz-Laiolo identifies – an alienated youth, in the care of a single parent, falling in with a bad crowd and/or committing a crime, and being sent away as a result – are merely ‘familiar stock scenes and themes that are staples of literature and are not protected’.”
The draft of Reetz-Laiolo’s original complaint included sexually explicit and compromising material of Cline he received when the two of them were on better terms.
Cline’s lawyers claimed that the pictures and screenshots were included in the complaint as an attempt at extorting a settlement from the author. Her countersuit also alleged that Reetz-Laiolo was abusive, holding and choking Cline on at least one occasion.
It’s worth noting that Reetz-Laiolo’s original lawyer was David Boies, infamous for his efforts defending another notorious figure named Harvey Weinstein. Reetz-Laiolo’s officially filed complaint excised the erotic content.
Legal battles never truly die, however, and the judge left the possibility open for other claims to move forward, including emotional distress and even reworking the copyright infringement claim.
Cline’s agent and publisher have stood behind her, never doubting that the work was her own. For her part, Cline is glad that at least for now the suit is behind her. “My book is and always has been my own,” she said.
Featured Image Via Emma Cline’s Website