Tag: lawsuit

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

Emma Cline and The Girls

‘The Girls’ Author Emma Cline Faces Accusations of Plagiarism

The Girls  author Emma Cline is being sued by an ex-boyfriend who alleges that Cline plagiarized parts of her hugely popular novel “by using spyware to access his email and other accounts.”


The Guardian reports that Cline “vehemently denies” the claims, made by Chaz Reetz-Laiolo with whom she was in a relationship while the pair were aspiring writers. It is from this shared time together that the claims arise, Cline’s countersuit says, noting that it “amounts to a few stray phrases and passages that stemmed from the couple’s shared lives, conversations and reading of each other’s work.”


According to Reetz-Laiolo, he was sold a computer by Emma Cline which had spyware installed. He claims she used this spyware to access his private accounts in order to steal his writing. He also names Penguin Random House in the lawsuit, on the grounds that they “knowingly” published plagiarized work. His lawsuit requests that Penguin Random House cease printing Cline’s novel, and asks for unspecified damages. 


Image Via The Paris Review

Image Via The Paris Review


The countersuit states that Reetz-Laiolo’s allegations are the “ludicrous” acts of an envious man and are “part of a two-year assault on her mental health and literary reputation.” Cline’s countersuit acknowledges that during their relationship she utilized spyware to investigate Reetz-Laiolo’s possible infidelity, but states she retained no access to the spyware once the computer was no longer in her possession. Cline is requesting that the court declare that “she has not infringed any copyright and seeks damages of at least $75,000.”


According to Cline’s lawyers, she is attempting to:


Put a stop to an escalating campaign by her abusive ex-boyfriend to extract millions of dollars by intimidation and threat, all under the auspices of frivolous claims of copyright infringement, a long-stale complaint that Cline “invaded” his privacy, and a ludicrous theory that she hacked into and stole unpublished written work from his computer.


If you haven’t read The Girls, I would urge you to do so. It is, regardless of its origins, incredible. Set against the dreamy backdrop of 60s California, it explores the dark and difficult elements of female adolescence through the character of Evie, a young girl who becomes involved with a Manson-family inspired cult. 


Featured Image Via Wired and Penguin Random House