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July 3, 2015

Author Solutions Lawsuit Update: Class Certification Denied

Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware

In April 2013, the law firm of Giskan Solotaroff Anderston & Stewart filed a lawsuit against Author Solutions Inc. and its parent company, Penguin, alleging fraud, unjust enrichment, and violation of various statutes and consumer protection acts. Penguin was later dismissed from the suit.

In February 2015, having completed discovery, Giskan Solotaroff filed for class certification with a lengthy Memorandum of Law that unpacked a lot of information about ASI's business model and internal operations.

That certification has now been denied, in a decision handed down by Judge Denise Cote on July 1.
From what I can tell on an initial reading, the decision seems to boil down to the fact that in one of the subclasses they were seeking to certify, plaintiffs weren't able to meet certification requirements; and in the other, weren't able to demonstrate a clear pattern of deception on the part of AS that could apply to everyone in the proposed class.

Judge Cote's decision can be read in full here

I'm guessing that Giskan Solotaroff will appeal. In the meantime, their second lawsuit against AS is ongoing, and has been consolidated with another lawsuit brought by two individual plaintiffs, Everette et al. v. Author Solutions LLC.

EDITED 10/27/15 TO ADD: The second lawsuit has been settled, according to Giskan Solotaroff:
Following the July 1, 2015 ruling by Judge Denise Cote denying plaintiffs’ motion for class certification in Simmons v. Author Solutions LLC, the parties have resolved both the New York and Indiana actions without any finding or admission of wrongdoing on the part of Author Solutions or its affiliates. By mutual agreement of the parties, the terms of the settlement are strictly confidential.
Giskan Solotaroff is no longer pursuing any claims against Author Solutions on a class-wide basis. However, they still wish to hear from authors with any of the AS imprints who've spent more than $10,000 in marketing services. A contact form is here.

5 comments :

Mick Rooney said...

Having just read through Judge Denise Cote's 30 page delivery of denial of class action status, I'm not sure where to start. Appeal or no appear, I'd have tossed this in the bin as well. What an absolute mess GSAS made of this. Legal point by point, she took them apart. Sad, because they had an open goal to aim at. Absolutely critical schoolboy errors made.

Weirdmage said...

Denise Cote is the pro Amazon (most likely paid off, because someone that stupid should not pass an exam)judge that seemingly knows nothing about publishing. (I have read her opinions.)
Looks like anti author corporations have found their place to go to court.

davidgaughran said...

I’m not a lawyer, so the following is based on a layman’s interpretation of the ruling. And I’d like to focus on certain limited aspects of it, rather than points of law.

1. I don’t know if the plaintiffs’ lawyers will be appealing or not, or whether there is room here to appeal, but the second class action is still ongoing.

2. That class action is based in Indiana, rather than New York. It seems that all Author Solutions imprints (bar iUniverse) have an Indiana venue clause, meaning that Judge Cote couldn’t rule on a whole bunch of things related to other imprints etc.

3. One of the key plaintiffs pulled out of this case in January (for reasons unknown to me), meaning that the plaintiffs’ lawyers no longer had a representative for the crucial NY class of authors, meaning Judge Cote couldn’t rule on a whole bunch of other things.

4. It seems that the key point in certification being denied was that the plaintiffs’ lawyers failed to demonstrate that the alleged actions (essentially shady selling of marketing services) were a company-wide/directed practice, rather than isolated cases. It’s entirely possible that the plaintiffs’ lawyers were restricted from making this case because of (2) and (3) above – restrictions that shouldn’t apply in the second, Indiana-based class action.

Or, to put it another way, the fight continues.

Victoria Strauss said...

Indeed it does. Thanks for the summary, David.

Jodi Foster said...

I am Jodi Foster one of the plaintiffs. I would love to do an interview with you about my experience. I am absolutely appalled, at Cotes decision.

Please feel free to contact me anytime.


Jodifoster.net email me at info@jodifoster.net
Hauntedchico.com

 
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