Tag: lawsuit

Author Dropped by Publisher Over Tweet Sues for $13 Million!

Remember Natasha Tynes, the author who shamed a a Metro Worker on Twitter and subsequently lost a book deal? Well, now she’s suing her ex-publisher for $13 million!

 

Natasha Tynes

Image Via NewsFeeds

For those who don’t remember, Natasha was riding the red line of the Washington, D.C. Metro when she saw an MTA employee eating her lunch on the train.

Yes, the rules state you shouldn’t do that, but people get hungry. Do you ride the train to work? The bus? Ever get hungry and eating something, like a cracker? Or do you, like me, take a sip of water?

Then you’re breaking the rules and, normally, nobody cares!

But Natasha Tynes did. She cared so much she snapped a picture of the woman’s face and posted about the incident on Twitter in a now deleted-Tweet.

 

The tweet in question

Image Via BBC

A separate account for the Metro service promptly responded:

 

Nnatasha Tynes' Metro Response

Image Via BET.com

Tynes couldn’t have foreseen the wrath with which her tweet would be met. People did not take kindly to what they perceived as a minority writer threaten the livelihood of another woman of color.

Deleted Tweet defending Tynes

Tynes was quick to delete her tweet, but the damage was done. According to the Huffington Post, “Los Angeles publisher Rare Bird Books canceled plans to distribute Tynes’ upcoming novel, They Called Me Wyatt, which was already being preordered” before going on to “[urge] its California Coldblood imprint ― a brand that operates under Rare Bird ― to do the same.”

California Coldblood announced this via Twitter:

Not the best look for Tynes.

Tynes is now suing Rare Bird Books for breach of contract citing, available here. The lawsuit accuses Rare Bird Books of having “sabotaged” her book in addition to defaming her.

The suit notes that Tynes not only reached out to the transit authority on Twitter to ask that the employee not be disciplined, but also contacted Rare Bird executive Robert Jason Peterson with the excuse that, since she was raised in Jordan, she didn’t think of the racial implications of humiliating a black woman on Twitter. According to this lawsuit, Peterson told Tynes, “You’ll get through this, we’ve got your back.”

Rare Birds Books

Image Via Deadline

You can read Rare Bird Books’ response to the enormous lawsuit here.

For context, the fact Tynes called Metro didn’t matter in the slightest. Two days before the incident Metro Transit Police Chief Ron Pavlik sent an email ordering transit officers to “cease and desist from issuing criminal citations in the District of Columbia for fare evasion; eating; drinking; spitting, and playing musical instruments without headphones until further advised.

So this whole thing is happening because Tynes thought someone was breaking the rules when, in fact, she wasn’t. Some advice, if you want to complain about someone, don’t do it on Twitter.

 

 

Featured Image Via BuzzFeed

Rare bird books logo

Publisher Responds to Dropped Author’s $13 Million Lawsuit

After igniting a scandal all her own, Natasha Tynes’ publisher, Rare Bird Books, decided to no longer distribute her latest book They Called Me Wyatt, which was set to release under one of the publisher’s imprints this year.

What was the scandal all about? Well, on her morning commute, Tynes snapped a picture of a mass transit employee having her breakfast on the train and proceeded to use that photo to call out that employee on social media:

When you’re on your morning commute & see @wmata employee in UNIFORM eating on the train. I thought we were not allowed to eat on the train. This is unacceptable. Hope @wmata responds. When I asked the employee about this, her response was, ‘worry about yourself.’

IMAGES VIA TWITTER

Tynes has since deleted the tweet, but you can’t erase anything from the internet once it is out there. Screenshots of her tweet are still making the rounds, which isn’t surprising considering she was attacking an African American woman on the DC transit. This was the issue the publisher had its qualms with stating “Black women face a constant barrage of this kind of inappropriate behavior directed toward them.”

Now after publicly shaming this employee, making herself and her publisher look bad, she is suing Rare Bird Books for $13 million. Rare Bird Books’ attorney, David S. Eisen, has responded on behalf of the company, pointing out that “the complaint filed by Natasha Tynes is baseless for a host of reasons.” The publisher is in no way responsible for her actions, nor did they take any part in defaming Tynes. But can you blame the publisher for not wanting to be associated with her?

The publisher notes that while Natasha Tynes is seeking to be paid for damages, her book only had fifty copies preordered, while about only 100 were set to printed and distributed. They add that the book was not well received through early reviews.

Featured Image Via Bookmate

400 Million Copy Bestseller Nora Roberts Sues for Plagiarism

One of the world’s bestselling authors, romance novelist Nora Roberts is suing Brazillian author Cristiane Serruya for plagiarism, seeking up to $25,000 in damages.

 

Related image

Left: Nora Roberts, Right: Cristiane Serruya | Image via Jornal O Global

 

 

According to a US News article, the lawsuit began on April 24th and Robert’s allegations were reported Rio De Janiero’s morning papers. Roberts’ case calls Serruya’s romance novels “a literary patchwork, piecing together phrases whose form portrays emotions practically identical to those expressed in the [Roberts’] books.”

Roberts also stated:

“If you plagiarize, I will come for you. If you take my work, you will pay for it and I will do my best to see you don’t write again.”

 

Nora Roberts wants to turn the situation around by donating any proceeds to Brazilian Literary organizations. Hopefully that will help spread more original writing and creativity.

On the subject of plagiarism, Roberts made a post on her blog entitled Not A Rant, But A Promise. This post revealed extensive research Roberts has done on the organized system of plagiarized books. We may not see it, but it happens on a “professional” level every day, with teams put together to hire cheap ghost writers and even tutors to teach writers how to scam the system.

If Serruya is proven guilty, her lawyer Saulo Daniel Lopez says that “[she] could be forced to pay from the proceeds of her books”. Cristiane Serruya has defended herself against Roberts’ allegations, stating that she is using software to analyze her books. She stated:

 

My books are big. In a book of 120,000 words it’s difficult to know how many supposedly came from a work of Nora Roberts.

 

Unfortunately for Serruya, she already has an alleged reputation as a plagiarist. According to US News:

 

Serruya has faced allegations from several other writers and even inspired the Twitter hashtag #CopyPasteCris. In February, author Courtney Milan titled a blog posting “Cristiane Serruya is a copyright infringer, a plagiarist, and an idiot,” and cited numerous passages from Serruya’s “Royal Love” that closely resembled Milan’s “The Duchess War.”

 

So far things do not look like they are in Serruya’s favor, but in the end, if Roberts wins, hopefully the money is put to good use.

 

Featured Image via CBS

Inside the $20 Million Dollar Lawsuit: Bestselling Author Sherrilyn Kenyon Accuses Husband of “Shakespearean Plot” to Poison Her

When author Sherrilyn Kenyon discovered her husband had taken out a million-dollar life insurance policy on her, a policy for which he was the sole beneficiary, the truth was as clear as it was horrific: he was conspiring to kill her.

 

Sherrilyn Kenyon with alleged abuser

Image Via Insider

 

It seems viciously ironic that Kenyon, a bestselling urban fantasy writer, would find herself entangled in such a dark plot. But there was more to the story than the life insurance policy. Kenyon had been growing increasingly ill since 2014 with indeterminate cause. At the time, she felt her symptoms came out of nowhere, and she was “unexpectedly stricken with a bevy of mysterious symptoms that her doctor could not explain.” Perhaps there was an explanation—and it was much darker than even Kenyon could have imagined. In 2018, after becoming completely bedridden, tests revealed her blood was rife with inexplicable toxins: “lithium, tin, barium and thorium,” the suit alleges. Coincidentally, the levels grew high enough to be detected directly after Kenyon’s husband filed for divorce.

 

Sherrilyn Kenyon 'The Chronicles of Nick'

Promotional banner for Kenyon’s Infinity, book one in the bestselling ‘Chronicles of Nick‘ series
Image Via YouTube

 

Sherrilyn Kenyon alleges that her husband, Lawrence R. Kenyon II, was not alone in his actions. Kenyon II’s  co-conspirator, Kerrie Ann Plump, worked as his personal assistant. According to Kenyon, Plump first became involved in family affairs when, as a freelance teacher for Tutor Doctor, the family employed her for their son’s education. When the boy’s tutoring was complete, Kenyon II retained Plump… paying her salary with his wife’s earnings. Though not an industry professional, Plump became increasingly involved in Kenyon’s affairs.

 

Kenyon recalls one instance, in 2017, when Plump served offered her food in a hotel room. When Kenyon shared that food with her cousin, she became violently ill. This was not a rare occurrence. In the lawsuit, Kenyon alleges she would often become sick after eating food her husband had prepared specifically for her. Both Kenyon II and Plump “would force her to eat and become enraged any time she failed to consume.” Once, this took place at the family dinner table—while her son watched. “She does that all the time,” Kenyon II told the boy as the wife and mother vomited onto the floor. “Ignore it.” Kenyon II would later close and empty the bank accounts of all three children, placing the $450,000 in a bank account under his own name.

 

Selection of Sherrilyn Kenyon's books

Sherrilyn Kenyon is a highly successful novelist with over 70 million copies of her books sold worldwide
Image Via Bustle

 

This “Shakespearean plot” against her has also impacted her ability to write, the poisoning impacting her health and career. In a recent letter to fans, Kenyon detailed that her husband was after more than her life—he wanted her intellectual property. She revealed:

 

[Things haven’t] all been sunshine and roses as I’m coping with the dissolution of my twenty-eight year marriage to a man I made the mistake of putting through law school by working three jobs so that he wouldn’t have to work any while he studied. A man who is now turning the skills I paid for against me as he ruthlessly lies about me and fights me for *MY* copyrights to characters, series and worlds that I had long before I ever met him (something he has admitted to on record time and again) and to books he knows he never helped to write or plot because he forbid me to even talk about my writing in front of him.

 

Kenyon II has since responded to these accusations:

 

There is no question that Sherrilyn Kenyon is a brilliant fiction writer. It is apparent, however, that she has irreparably blurred the line between fiction and reality, and these astonishing and unsubstantiated allegations may stand as her best fantasy creation yet. We do not know whether Ms. Kenyon truly believes these allegations or if she is using this newly filed civil complaint in an attempt to gain an upper hand in the parties’ ongoing divorce proceedings.

 

Kenyon has only been able to recover her health after, halfway through 2018, Kenyon II moved out of their shared household. Although there have been no criminal charges thus far, the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office has opened an investigation. Through all this, Kenyon successfully ensured her most recent novel, Stygian, hit stores in September 2018.

Headshot of Author Emma Cline

Judge Dismisses Copyright Claim Against ‘The Girls’ Author Emma Cline

The copyright claim against author Emma Cline filed by her ex-boyfriend that we previously reported on has been dropped, according to a Guardian story published earlier this month.

 

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