View Full Version : Retaliatory Lawsuit Against Writer Beware Staff Dismissed

03-27-2009, 12:05 AM
The following press release was posted today at the SFWA website (http://www.sfwa.org/news/2009/wbwins.htm) and Livejournal (http://community.livejournal.com/sfwa/67319.html). 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 (http://www.sfwa.org/beware/general.html#Literary) 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 (http://myfloridalegal.com/lit_ec.nsf/investigations/31273A2F06893B9B852573760050A9EA) 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 (http://www.writerbeware.com/) and are major contributors to Writer Beware Blogs! (http://accrispin.blogspot.com/)

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.

03-27-2009, 12:07 AM
Good deal. Sometimes things work the way they're supposed to.

03-27-2009, 12:10 AM
Good. We didn't need to call out the dragons to attack a judicial building after all. Congrats, Victoria.

03-27-2009, 12:11 AM
Thanks for hanging in there for those writers who might have been taken in. You guys are heroes.

03-27-2009, 12:12 AM
I hope Victoria and Ann collect all they deserve.

03-27-2009, 12:16 AM
Congratulations! Some days justice is served.

A. Hamilton
03-27-2009, 12:20 AM
excellent news.

03-27-2009, 12:22 AM
Congrats on the dismissal.:)
WARNING :Soapbox:

If certain people/ publishers/ agents didn't do illegal/ immoral/ unethical/ stupid things then there wouldn't be a need for writer beware and they in turn wouldn't have to go through all the trouble of filing lawsuits against it and its contributors.

Okay I'm done
Congrats again

03-27-2009, 12:23 AM
That's great!

Old Hack
03-27-2009, 12:26 AM
Oh, Victoria, I'm so pleased for you and for Ann. I shall raise a glass to you both tonight (and as it's already nearly half-past eight, that won't take me long!).

Many congratulations, and thank you so much for all the work that you do despite such attempts to stop you. You're wonderful.

03-27-2009, 12:28 AM
Good news indeed. :)

Calla Lily
03-27-2009, 12:32 AM
Excellent news, Victoria!

Further proof that you are indeed The Writers' Goddess. Take it from me. I knows that thar religiony-type stuff. :)

03-27-2009, 12:56 AM
That's awesome. Congrats.

03-27-2009, 01:02 AM
glad to hear it. Congrats! :-)

Jersey Chick
03-27-2009, 01:07 AM
Yay! Some good news on a gloomy afternoon.


03-27-2009, 01:09 AM
That is wonderful news. Congratulations!

03-27-2009, 01:11 AM
What great news! I certainly hope you are able to recover those legal fees. But you can't really recover the lost time and aggravation of the past year. I am very sotty you have had to endure that. Please know that what you do is so greatly appreciated by so many.

03-27-2009, 01:15 AM
Oh good.
I am so glad to hear this.

03-27-2009, 01:16 AM
Great news Victoria and Ann! Congrats!

03-27-2009, 01:20 AM
Excellent news. I hope the legal costs are recouped too.

03-27-2009, 01:26 AM
It's nice to hear when the good guys come out ahead.

My favorite line......

(Strauss wasn't served until 42 minutes after the time of the hearing, and Crispin was not served at all),

Priceless, utterly, without a doubt, all holds barred, my favorite line. Lol.

Kasey Mackenzie
03-27-2009, 01:32 AM

03-27-2009, 01:36 AM
Thanks, everyone. It feels good!

- Victoria

Greg Wilson
03-27-2009, 01:41 AM
Congratulations, Victoria--justice done.

03-27-2009, 01:43 AM
Congrats, Victoria, to both you and Ann.

03-27-2009, 01:47 AM
That is awesome news. Congratulations!


AC Crispin
03-27-2009, 01:54 AM
Thanks for all the congratulatory messages.

I hope the Florida Attorney General's Office will open a can of you know what on Mr. Fletcher's you know what.


-Ann C. Crispin

03-27-2009, 01:56 AM
Absolutely fabulous! Thanks for everything you do, it is greatly appreciated.

:Sun: :Sun: :Sun:

Deb Kinnard
03-27-2009, 01:57 AM
Good on ya and Ann.

Now I can stop practicing my Cruciatus Curse.

Ol' Fashioned Girl
03-27-2009, 03:50 AM
Wonderful! Congrats all around!

Robin Bayne
03-27-2009, 03:54 AM
Congrats! Some things do seem just.

03-27-2009, 04:19 AM
Yay! :hooray: It's great to see the bad guys get smacked when they pull this kind of crap. Ann and Victoria, you two are my heroes. Thanks for all the hard work you do for writers everywhere.

03-27-2009, 04:34 AM
Congrats! It's 'cause of you guys I avoided them like the plague!

03-27-2009, 04:41 AM
Hooray! Great news. Congratulations.

03-27-2009, 05:07 AM
Glad to hear the good news!

03-27-2009, 05:10 AM
glad to hear this! keep up the good work!

03-27-2009, 05:31 AM
Great news! Congratulations. :)

03-27-2009, 05:46 AM
Adding my congrats. That's terrific.

I only hope you have the energy to pursue your legal fees. And hopefully, punitive compensation. Although if it were me, I'd be so sick of it all I'd be tempted to drop the whole thing. But of course, that's exactly what people who bring frivolous lawsuits bank on -- not winning, but making another's life so miserable that they eventually give up because it's just not worth the unbelievable hassle.

You guys deserve many thanks from all writers, and tremendous respect as well.

03-27-2009, 06:13 AM
So happy.

James D. Macdonald
03-27-2009, 06:20 AM
I was also named in the suit.

I also prevailed.

Calla Lily
03-27-2009, 06:24 AM
Yay, Uncle Jim!

Alan Yee
03-27-2009, 06:37 AM
Victoria and Ann, I'm so happy to hear about this. You guys do so much good with Writer Beware. Keep it up!

Richard Martin
03-27-2009, 08:41 AM
"a purported literary agent"


Stacia Kane
03-27-2009, 01:10 PM
Congratulations ladies (and Jim)! I'm so pleased to see this! :)

David McAfee
03-27-2009, 03:42 PM
Excellent news. :D Made my morning.

03-27-2009, 06:10 PM
If there was a thumbs up emote, I'd definitely type it out here.

03-27-2009, 07:38 PM
That's wonderful news. Congratulations to all of you, and I hope you get your legal fees back.

03-27-2009, 07:56 PM
Congrats to you all! It's always a relief to see the good gals/guys win. Thank you for all that you do for writers!

03-27-2009, 08:37 PM
What a huge sigh of relief! Congratulations, Victoria and Ann. (And Uncle Jim, too!) "Frivolous lawsuit" indeed. I really wonder how he came up with that figure of 25K. Yeesh.

Wonderful news for Writer Beware! You guys are awesome and we so appreciate everything you do on behalf of writers. Yay!

03-27-2009, 11:12 PM
Congrats...this is greats news! Not surprising if you think about it. Despite filing a lawsuit, I imagine the last thing the scammer wants is to have to expose and try to justify his business practices in an open courtroom.

03-27-2009, 11:47 PM
YAY! Truth, justice, and beauty prevail!
(you can take turns with those roles as you like)

03-27-2009, 11:53 PM
Congrats all around - this is fantastic news! :D

Here's hoping that Florida will soon put Bouncin' Bobby out of business.


The Grump
03-28-2009, 12:16 AM
I missed the party, but I'm happy for you and Ann. You do a much needed service.

Now ... hopefully you'll collect your costs fast.


03-28-2009, 12:48 AM
YAY! Truth, justice, and beauty prevail!

Especially beauty.

- Victoria (thinking wishfully)

03-28-2009, 04:47 AM
Congratulations, applause, and many thanks for all you do for your fellow writers!

03-28-2009, 04:51 AM
Congrats! I'm so happy it worked out. I love Writer Beware - it was so helpful when I started querying.

03-28-2009, 05:00 AM
Excellent! Very happy to hear this!

Tika ;)

03-28-2009, 03:20 PM
Congratulations! Hope the counter-suit to recover legal fees is wildly successful!

03-28-2009, 05:19 PM
I love this happy news! Congratulations! Now go get your money back.

03-28-2009, 05:37 PM

Old Hack
03-28-2009, 05:44 PM
YAY! Truth, justice, and beauty prevail!
(you can take turns with those roles as you like)

Ann and Victoria have to claim the roles of truth and justice, which leaves beauty to... Uncle Jim.

Sounds about right.


03-28-2009, 05:50 PM
*snerk* Congratulations to all!!! :e2headban

03-31-2009, 07:35 PM
I'm a little late to the party, but hearty congrats, Victoria and Ann. :)

kct webber
03-31-2009, 07:47 PM
Indeed. Victoria and Ann--as I've said before on mumerous occasions--saves my ass from one bad publisher and one bad agent and led me here, where I've learned from all the other watchdogs. You guys are awesome and deserve to have this Fletcher dude clean your toilets and feed your pet ferrets for the remainder of his meaningless little scammy life. :D

03-31-2009, 10:32 PM
Oh, I'm so glad for you, Victoria and Ann!

04-01-2009, 01:10 AM
Wheh! This is such a relief. Glad to know that justice does prevail, at least sometimes.

Victoria and Ann, you two are amazing. Thank you for all you do to keep the rest of us informed and protected.

Red Dragon
04-01-2009, 01:18 AM
I've just had an "encounter" with Robert Fletcher's SBP... pulled out of the deal after visiting this site, and became a member on here today... my post on the experience is on the "Strategic Book Publishing / Eloquent Books" thread.

Can't thank you enough!