Thursday, March 26, 2009

Retaliatory Lawsuit Against Writer Beware Staff Dismissed

The following press release was posted today at the SFWA website and Livejournal. Naturally, we're all extremely pleased with this result.

CHESTERTOWN, Md. -- A Massachusetts Superior Court judge has dismissed a lawsuit against Ann Crispin and Victoria Strauss, the principal operators of the Writer Beware website, filed by a purported literary agent.

Writer Beware is a publishing industry watchdog group sponsored by Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America which “shines a light into the dark corners of the shadow-world of literary scams, schemes and pitfalls.”

The suit, initiated by Robert Fletcher and his company, the Literary Agency Group, alleged defamation, loss of business and emotional distress while making claims Fletcher had lost $25,000 per month due to warnings about his business practices posted by Crispin and Strauss.

The suit was dismissed with prejudice March 18 by the Massachusetts Superior Court due to Fletcher’s failure to respond to discovery or otherwise prosecute the lawsuit. Crispin and Strauss, through counsel, intend to file a motion against Fletcher and the Literary Agency Group, Inc., seeking recovery of their legal fees incurred in defending what they believe to be a frivolous lawsuit.

The case dates to Feb. 2008, when Fletcher and his company filed for a temporary restraining order pending a preliminary injunction against Crispin and Strauss in Suffolk County Superior Court in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. During a subsequent hearing Feb. 19, the temporary restraining order was dismissed for improper service (Strauss wasn't served until 42 minutes after the time of the hearing, and Crispin was not served at all), but the supporting complaint was allowed to proceed.

Currently, Fletcher and his companies remain the subjects of an active investigation by the Florida Attorney General's Office.

“I’m very pleased that the case was dismissed. Knowing how hard those involved with Writer Beware work – and how important the work they do is to writers, both within SFWA and outside of it – it’s very good news, indeed,” said SFWA President Russell Davis. “Writer Beware is one of the most important and valuable services SFWA provides, and knowing that this frivolous case was dismissed, and that Mr. Fletcher is now the subject of an investigation in Florida only validates the work done by Ann Crispin and Victoria Strauss.”

Crispin and Strauss have volunteered countless hours of their time to advising, educating and warning aspiring and established authors about dubious, questionable and outright criminal business practices on the fringes of the publishing industry. They maintain the Writer Beware website and are major contributors to Writer Beware Blogs!

About SFWA

Founded in 1965 by the late Damon Knight, Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America brings together the most successful and daring writers of speculative fiction throughout the world.

Since its inception, SFWA® has grown in numbers and influence until it is now widely recognized as one of the most effective non-profit writers' organizations in existence, boasting a membership of approximately 1,500 science fiction and fantasy writers as well as artists, editors and allied professionals. Each year the organization presents the prestigious Nebula Awards® for the year’s best literary and dramatic works of speculative fiction.

46 comments:

Windy said...

Frivolous lawsuit indeed! Congrats on the dismissal, you're doing a great public service for all writers. Good luck.

Thanks for all you do.

sexywriter said...

Hurrah! And congratulations on the victory.

BuffySquirrel said...

Hah!

Nathan Bransford said...

Congratulations!

Diana Castilleja said...

*cheers*

So glad to see this!

Barb said...

Wonderful result. Thank you for the service and advice you provide.

Mark Orr said...

Hooray! I love it when the good guys win.

Dee Carney said...

Congrats!!

Lisa Kessler said...

Congratulations!!!

I'm so glad you stood up for yourselves and WON!!!!

Thanks for all that you do!

Lisa :)

JS said...

Yay! Fantastic news. Keep on ternishing!

Virginia said...

Great news! Congrats!

Jane Smith said...

I am so VERY pleased by your victory here. What a shame that you had to endure such stress and unhappiness in the first place: I realise that you were in the right all along, and were pretty certain that you were going to win, no matter what the guy claimed: but still, it must have been worrying. And horrible. And you and Ann just didn't deserve this.

If the bad guys would just start behaving a little more ethically, you wouldn't have to go through any of this.

Thank you, both of you, so much for all you do for all of us: writers you've never even met, most of whom you'll never even hear of, most of whom will never even know who you are or what you do for them. It's appreciated, perhaps more deeply than you'll ever understand.

Dharma Kelleher said...

A victory not only for you, but for all of us! You rock!

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Mazel Tov! Keep on fighting the good fight, gang. As everyone has said -- and as you know -- you're doing a great service for the entire publishing industry. Thanks.

Chiron said...

Congrats on the dismissal! It's true, the cockroaches always run when someone turns on the lights.

Thanks for all you do.

--Chiron O'Keefe

Casey said...

Huzzah!

Leslie said...

YOu guys are cool!!!

K. Andrew Smith said...

Excellent news! I had little doubt you would win in the first place, but it's still great to see it happen.

Thanks for all your hard work. It's very much appreciated.

Arwen Taylor said...

Huzzah! I love it when the good guys and gals win. Congratulations.

neutronjockey said...

Youse guys are so ebil, with ebil sauce and ebil sprinkles!

How dare you watch the dogs...


A shame that someone has to, but thank goodness you do.

Congratulations. Victory for all.

Janeal C. Falor said...

Congratulations!

Tara Maya said...

Thank goodness and thank you.

Miss Snark said...

Congratulations! You both have earned a very full pail of gin. I shall send Killer Yapp over to deliver some.

Dina James said...

SCORE! Go you, ladies, and congratulations! I know you've been a tremendous help to me, and I sing your praises every chance I get!

Sally Zigmond said...

Many congrats from me, too. It makes the world feel a better place. You are such good people.

Barbara Doran said...

I join in the general congratulations and add the hope that you'll be able to get the legal fees back.

I've learned quite a bit here and I'm very glad this blog exists.

Puppetmaker said...

I really hope you get your legal costs back in a timely fashion.

You're all good people and don't deserve to be sued for bring forth the light of truth on the dark corners of the publishing industry.

Kathleen O'Shea David

Dana King said...

Hearty congratulations! Not only does this blog provide a valuable service, Victoria was quite gracious answering a question I put to her about a year ago, that may well have saved a friend from an unpleasant and unproductive experience, in spite of what I know is a busy schedule.

ALC said...

Ah, sweet justice. Nice to see that it can still be found out there, isn't it?

Congratulations.

We trust that you will all keep us apprised as to how the investigation in Florida unfolds. I'm sure we will all get to do some cheering again about that in the distant future.

christine tripp said...

This is WONDERFUL news, I've often thought of this ridiculous lawsuit against you and how it was going, I'm so pleased with the outcome. I only hope you can collect on your court costs, now THAT would be justice!
But.... it's just lovely that he is now under investigation!

MisterChris said...

Well, now,

My faith in the justice system has taken an uptick.

Congrats, you are doing all of us a wonderful service, and should be commended for your efforts. Rather than subjected to fear tactics.

If they were doing their jobs, as advertised, it never would have come to this.

Like Dylan said many years ago,

"Oh when will they ever learn?"

Young said...

Thank GOd! Writer's Beware is such a big help to everyone. They are not at fault here. They are just protecting future writers.

Sarah Jensen said...

I read this on my email, so rarely do I come over and comment, but I can just add my congratulations.
and I thank you for keeping us informed!

Ray Rhamey said...

I love it when the good guys, er, girls win! Kinda restores the faith. thanks so much for all you do.

Ray

freddie said...

That's wonderful news. Congrats!

Victoria Strauss said...

Thanks so much for all the congratulations and good wishes, and the many more I've gotten in email. It is indeed to celebrate!

(Oh, and thanks to Killer Yapp for the gin. It was very {{hic}} enjoyable.)

mare said...

Congrats to Strauss and Crispin! You provide a valuable service, and I love your work. Keep it up...and congrats again! Have a drink + enjoy this weekend. -ms

Janet said...

Oh yeah!

Mad Scientist Matt said...

Congratulations! It's kind of sad that Fletcher was ever making $25,000 per month in fees and such. Good luck with the motion.

NICOLA MORGAN said...

Huge congratulations and many thanks for standing up for all of us. I don't envy you the stress you must have gone through - well done.

J. M. Strother said...

Hooray! Sometimes the good guys win. Hope legal fees are recovered successfully as well.
~jon

wealhtheow said...

Hooray! Mazal tov! That is wonderful news :D

Randy Godwin said...

You guys are great, it's nice to see some justice every now and then.

David Dittell said...

Victoria (& Ann),

I absolutely love your sight and consider it a truly valuable resource, and obviously so do a great many other people. Don't ever let the bad guys get you down, and congratulations.

Kilong Ung said...

I found Writer Beware Blogs extremely useful. Thank you for putting your neck out there for us. See you in Twitter.

Sincerely,

Golden Leaf, A Khmer Rouge Genocide Survivor

Anonymous said...

You have destroyed an otherwise thriving industry since you started your witch hunts. Wake up people, in 2006 when the Worst LIsts were published there was an average of 200 books being published by each publishing department in NY. Each year the list of books published went down, and this year, most publishing departments, if they haven't yet closed their doors, are doing 0 to 10 books per year. Down from 200 to 0 to 10! Writer Beware is the biggest trash maker in publishing history. Lost a job in publishing? Blame it on Writer beware. They are destroying traditional publishing because they secretly work for Pay to Publish companies.