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View Full Version : Robert Fletcher's Lawsuit Against Writer Beware Ruled Frivolous



AC Crispin
08-11-2009, 08:23 PM
Hello, Folks!

I have very good news. Please go to Writer Beware's blog Writer Beware's Blog (http://www.accrispin.blogspot.com/) to read our official announcement about the final outcome in the defamation lawsuit Robert Fletcher brought against Victoria and me.

Back in February of 2008, Robert Fletcher sought to muzzle Writer Beware by attempting to bring a gag order against Victoria and me. This attempt was accompanied by a lawsuit, accusing Writer Beware of libel and defamation against Mr. Fletcher and his companies.

Under advice of counsel, Victoria and I said nothing about this to anyone online, until we had received official rulings that were matters of public record. Fletcher, on the other hand, bragged to any author who questioned him about Writer Beware's warnings that he was about to receive a "summary judgment" against us, and that Writer Beware would be forced to acknowledge our "lies."

For over a year, Victoria and I have been working with our Attorney in Boston, giving him (literally) large boxes of documentation regarding Robert Fletcher and his many aliases, companies, and activities aimed at separating writers from their hard-earned money.

During that time, Mr. Fletcher consistently defamed US, claiming we had never earned any money as writers, that we were doing all this because he refused to represent or publish us, implying that we were nothing but jealous cranks trying to cause trouble for a successful company that had scorned us.

Well, on July 31, 2009, Judge Thomas E. Connolly, Justice of the Superior Court in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, ruled that Fletcher's case was "frivolous" and further ordered that Fletcher had to pay our attorney fees and court costs.

And, what's even more significant, to those considering signing on with Mr. Fletcher, after reviewing the evidence, Judge Connolly wrote (after describing Fletcher's agenting and publishing operations), "Basically, Fletcher and LAG (he means the Literary Agency Group) were running a fraud by charging fees for all services while falsely giving hope to the authors that Fletcher and LAG would find a publisher for their book."

Interesting, yes?

Please read the judgment for yourselves, and Victoria's article on the blog page.

A victory for writers worldwide! (And yes, we've gotten complaints and inquires about Mr. Fletcher's claims and operations from writers in Australia, Finland, Israel, and many other companies. Even Nigeria.)

-Ann C. Crispin
Chair, Writer Beware
www.writerbeware.com (http://www.writerbeware.com)

BenPanced
08-11-2009, 08:28 PM
:hooray::partyguy:

victoriastrauss
08-11-2009, 08:31 PM
Ann and I got good news today: the lawsuit launched against us by Robert Fletcher in February 2008, which was dismissed with prejudice (http://accrispin.blogspot.com/2009/03/retaliatory-lawsuit-against-writer.html) in March 2009, has just been ruled frivolous, and Fletcher has been ordered to pay our attorneys' fees and expenses.

Here's my blog post about the ruling (http://accrispin.blogspot.com/2009/08/victoria-strauss-robert-fletchers.html).

Here's a PDF of the ruling (http://www.sfwa.org/beware/fletcher%20decision_20090811100047.pdf).

Here's Writer Beware's Alert about Fletcher and his many companies (http://www.sfwa.org/beware/general.html#Literary).

Needless to say, we're thrilled with the outcome of this case.

- Victoria

Jersey Chick
08-11-2009, 08:34 PM
Congrats! :hooray:

mscelina
08-11-2009, 08:46 PM
Totally awesome! I'm spreading the news even as we speak. Thank God there are some insightful judges out there.

:)

Bubastes
08-11-2009, 08:48 PM
HOORAY!!!! That's fantastic news!

Gillhoughly
08-11-2009, 08:54 PM
YAY! :banana::PartySmil:TheWave:

It's good to see the deserving being hoist on his own petard and hit where it hurts him the most, in the bankbook.

Bobby, it's time to get a real job and stop leeching off hopeful writers.

:e2woo:

DeleyanLee
08-11-2009, 08:54 PM
Hurray!

Almost makes me believe in the justice system.

Marian Perera
08-11-2009, 08:58 PM
*cheers*

alleycat
08-11-2009, 09:01 PM
Congratulations!

AC Crispin
08-11-2009, 09:02 PM
Should I move my post on the subject over here?

-Ann C. Crispin

victoriastrauss
08-11-2009, 09:09 PM
Yes, please--yours post gives more background than mine does.

- Victoria

CaoPaux
08-11-2009, 09:35 PM
Done!

And, w00t!!!

MacAllister
08-11-2009, 09:48 PM
woo-HOOO!!! Congratulations, Writer Beware! (And especially Ann and Vic)

rejectME
08-11-2009, 10:09 PM
This is so awesome! Congrats, guys!

Haggis
08-11-2009, 10:15 PM
Well done, folks. Well done. :Hail::Hail::Hail:

Scribhneoir
08-11-2009, 10:16 PM
Woohoo! :hooray::snoopy::partyguy:


Ann and Victoria, many thanks for being willing to keep putting up with this kind of shit to help writers everywhere. You're the goodest of the good guys. :Hug2:

M.R.J. Le Blanc
08-11-2009, 10:44 PM
:partyguy: This calls for celebratory drinks!

Calla Lily
08-11-2009, 11:01 PM
:PartySmil:Trophy::hooray::hooray::hooray:

This is a great day for writers and our wonderful goddesses at Writer Beware. HUGE congratulations!

Snowstorm
08-11-2009, 11:39 PM
Congratulations Ann and Victoria! I'll echo Scribhneoir about you two being the "goodest of the good guys." Working so hard to help others puts you way above. Thank you.

tlblack
08-11-2009, 11:56 PM
That's the best news I've heard in a while. CONGRATS!

CACTUSWENDY
08-11-2009, 11:56 PM
(((((((((YOU BOTH))))))))

Thank you for your tireless work and for being a beacon in the sometimes dark world of publishing. I know your site has repelled untold amounts of heartache. My hat is off to each of you. A job well done.

Erin
08-12-2009, 12:10 AM
That's awesome! CONGRATS!!

sunna
08-12-2009, 12:19 AM
Congratulations!!! That's wonderful news. :hooray::snoopy::partyguy:

Thanks to you both for all your hard work and patience.

Maryn
08-12-2009, 12:23 AM
I believe the term I'm looking for is


O frabjous day!

Maryn, glad and relieved for you both

LexiCan
08-12-2009, 12:41 AM
Well thank God, one of the chief sleazes finally got it!
Congrats to both of you, and thanks from the whole writing community I'm sure!

victoriastrauss
08-12-2009, 01:17 AM
It should be noted that Jim Macdonald, who was also named in the suit but had separate representation, also prevailed against Fletcher.

- Victoria

Saltier
08-12-2009, 01:28 AM
Congrats to the three of you then :)

Cyia
08-12-2009, 01:39 AM
:snoopy::snoopy::snoopy::snoopy::snoopy::snoopy::s noopy::snoopy::snoopy::snoopy::snoopy::snoopy::sno opy::snoopy::snoopy::snoopy::snoopy::snoopy::snoop y::snoopy::snoopy::snoopy::snoopy::snoopy::snoopy: :snoopy::snoopy::snoopy::snoopy::snoopy::snoopy::s noopy::snoopy::snoopy::snoopy::snoopy::snoopy::sno opy::snoopy::snoopy::snoopy::snoopy::snoopy::snoop y::snoopy::snoopy::snoopy::snoopy::snoopy::snoopy: :snoopy::snoopy::snoopy::snoopy::snoopy::snoopy::s noopy::snoopy::snoopy::snoopy::snoopy::snoopy::sno opy::snoopy::snoopy::snoopy::snoopy::snoopy::snoop y::snoopy::snoopy::snoopy::snoopy::snoopy::snoopy: :snoopy::snoopy::snoopy::snoopy::snoopy::snoopy::s noopy::snoopy::snoopy::snoopy::snoopy::snoopy::sno opy::snoopy::snoopy:


Woo Hoo! Congrats! That's great news.

Deep Woods Writer
08-12-2009, 01:47 AM
I just can't wait until the Bauer case goes the same way. Maybe then we'll see most of the 'quack's' either clear out or just plain get out.

MickRooney
08-12-2009, 02:11 AM
Great news, Victoria and Ann

Marie Pacha
08-12-2009, 02:33 AM
Congratulations, all of you!

emeraldcite
08-12-2009, 05:57 AM
Congrats! This is indeed good news!

suedenym
08-12-2009, 10:38 AM
Congratulations to both of you!

Old Hack
08-12-2009, 12:13 PM
I am so very pleased to hear about this. Congratulations to Ann, Victoria and James for this triumph. And I was particularly interested to read the judge's opinion that Fletcher's business practices are fraudulent. It's good to have it confirmed!

Cranky
08-12-2009, 12:22 PM
That is truly excellent news! Congrats!

Old Hack
08-12-2009, 12:38 PM
I've been reading the PDF of the judge's findings (http://www.sfwa.org/beware/fletcher%20decision_20090811100047.pdf) which is now up on Writer Beware, and I find this part absolutely chilling:


The plaintiff, Robert Fletcher, sent multiple e-mails to both defendants, Crispin and Strauss threatening them both with physical harm and threatening them with this lawsuit. In fact, in two of his e-mails, he indicated that his purpose was not to prevail in the lawsuit but just to bankrupt the defendants, Crispin and Strauss.

So for the past year and a half, Ann and Victoria have not only had to deal with the stress of this lawsuit, they've been receiving from Robert Fletcher multiple threats of physical harm and have been taunted with bankruptcy if they continue with their duties at Writer Beware. Not only have they continued warning writers like us about fraudsters like him, they've done it with grace and style and have never once let it be known what they were facing.

Ann and Victoria: we owe you so much. Thank you. For this and everything else you do at Writer Beware (and particularly for the blog, which I find absolutely fascinating--it's a brilliant resource).

rejectME
08-12-2009, 07:03 PM
Is it wrong to post that PDF file link to AEG's Facebook page?

Old Hack
08-12-2009, 07:08 PM
I don't see a problem with that at all. It's all in the interests of full disclosure, after all.

DaveKuzminski
08-12-2009, 07:17 PM
If they've received threats of physical harm, then those threats should be turned over to the authorities for prosecution under criminal laws.

AC Crispin
08-12-2009, 07:17 PM
Don't forget the Jim Macdonald was also on the receiving end of Fletcher's...not-so-kind attention.

Matter of fact, Robert Fletcher tried to blackmail both Jim Macdonald and me. Nice guy.

-Ann C. Crispin

Terie
08-12-2009, 07:41 PM
Oh, hooray!! What fantastic news for the three of you and all the writers who have yet to be spared heartache because of your incredible work.

:partyguy: Congratulations!

rejectME
08-12-2009, 07:42 PM
I will say that I posted it for several reasons - not as an "in your face" type thing at all, but rather as a warning to the writers there who are paying money to this guy for any one of the services. These people deserve a heads up.

Gravity
08-12-2009, 10:53 PM
Quick question (and I hate to throw cold water on the celebration): will this stop him, or even slow him down? Opinions?

DaveKuzminski
08-12-2009, 10:57 PM
Well, that depends on whether a prosecutor thinks blackmail, threats, use of false identities for fraudulent purposes, and fraud are enough to warrant placing criminal charges. Let's hope so. ;)

Robert Toy
08-12-2009, 11:02 PM
Congratulations!

From someone who dealt with Robert Fletcher

Scribhneoir
08-13-2009, 12:03 AM
It should be noted that Jim Macdonald, who was also named in the suit but had separate representation, also prevailed against Fletcher.

- Victoria

Congratulations to Jim, too! :PartySmil

still alive
08-13-2009, 02:56 AM
It's nice to see the good guys win sometimes! I hope legal fees and court costs from all sides bury him once and for all.

Great heartening news.
Still alive

raburrell
08-13-2009, 03:05 AM
Great news! Congratulations to AC and Vic, and I'm heartened the 'good guys' prevailed.
:snoopy:

LeslieB
08-13-2009, 04:55 AM
If they've received threats of physical harm, then those threats should be turned over to the authorities for prosecution under criminal laws.

If those threats were made via email or any internet method, I would suggest contacting the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Under Florida law, any internet crime falls under our jurisdiction if either the suspect or the victim is in Florida. If Fletcher sent his threats from our state, he's our meat.

rejectME
08-13-2009, 05:17 AM
If those threats were made via email or any internet method, I would suggest contacting the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Under Florida law, any internet crime falls under our jurisdiction if either the suspect or the victim is in Florida. If Fletcher sent his threats from our state, he's our meat.

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but threats over the internet are federal matters. Whereas they may be tried in the state of origin, the decision US AG's office would initiate prosecution.

burgy61
08-13-2009, 05:57 AM
Congrats Ann and Victoria, you ladies rock! And you also rock Jim, congrats.

Mac H.
08-13-2009, 06:02 AM
I have some questions:

1. To quote the judge's findings:

"The defendants obtained an order by the Court requiring him to attend, an he again failed to attend.
... Fletcher himself refused to attend his noticed deposition after being order[ed] by the Court to attend"


Is anyone here involved with courts on a day-to-day basis? What is the point of having court orders if Fletcher can just refuse to obey the court order?

What would be the typical consequences for his refusal?
(I know there is a wide range of possible consequences .. I read this morning that a guy got six months in jail for contempt of court after yawning in court but this isn't typical)

2. "Their lawyer, Jerrold G. Neeff, knew it to be frivolous before it was even commenced"

Is there an ethics issue here? The typical rule I see is:


Rule 3-200 Prohibited Objectives of Employment

A member shall not seek, accept, or continue employment if the member knows or should know that the objective of such employment is:

(A) To bring an action, conduct a defense, assert a position in litigation, or take an appeal, without probable cause and for the purpose of harassing or maliciously injuring any person;

...
(Yeah - I know that's probably the wrong state. But I imagine there are similar ethics rules that the lawyer would be subject to)

The idea of 'maliciously injuring' might be unprovable, but the judge seemed 100% clear that the action was without probably cause and for the purpose of harassing, at the very least. Even if Jerrold G. Neeff didn't know at the outset that the case was unethical, surely he had an obligation to quit at some point ? His only plausible defence would be that he didn't know, nor should not have known. But that would mean that he wasn't aware of the emails that his client had sent .. which would be hard to claim because he would have been provided with those documents as part of the discovery process.

So surely from the moment that he received those emails, wasn't the only ethical course of action to quit the case ?
Clearly, I am not a lawyer - and I don't want to pile on the poor guy who would have had the client from hell, and an impossible case to proceed with. And once it was clear to him that the case was totally frivolous, the best thing for the victims would have been to get the case to court so the judge can announce to the world that the case is frivolous. If he had quit the case (which the ethics rules seem to say he should have) then the victims would have been worse off .. it would have given more delays and suffering for people who are having their life savings threatened.

I'm just curious what this kind of case means the for the lawyers involved.

Mac

rugcat
08-13-2009, 06:07 AM
What a nightmare for you guys. I can't tell you how much I respect you all for taking the heat and standing up to people like him. A great outcome.

rejectME
08-13-2009, 06:12 AM
So if he had a court order to attend and didn't, what's to say that he won't ignore the court order to pay the legal fees of Victoria and Ann? I would think that failing to appear would mean that he was/is in contempt of court and subject to jail time or an additional fine.

LeslieB
08-13-2009, 06:37 AM
Please correct me if I'm wrong, but threats over the internet are federal matters. Whereas they may be tried in the state of origin, the decision US AG's office would initiate prosecution.

There is a lot of overlap in the laws now. But usually the feds only get interested if it's something that involves a major crime, like terrorist acts. They don't come running for just anything. Florida deliberately wrote its laws to make it easier to prosecute internet crime on a state level for that very reason.

James D. Macdonald
08-13-2009, 03:08 PM
If those threats were made via email or any internet method, I would suggest contacting the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Do you have a specific division?

LeslieB
08-14-2009, 05:48 AM
Do you have a specific division?

Yes. The Florida Computer Crime Center (FC3 for short) handles this sort of thing. This webpage can help get you started. http://www.fdle.state.fl.us/Content/Florida-Computer-Crime-Center/Report-a-Computer-Crime.aspx If you would prefer something closer to home - Fletcher's home, that is - you can find the contact information for the West Palm Beach field office under the FDLE Regional Contacts link. Boca Raton is in their service area.

rejectME
08-14-2009, 02:51 PM
Is it wrong to post that PDF file link to AEG's Facebook page?

Poor taste or not, AEG didn't appreciate my posting the link to the court's recent decision, on their Facebook page. I would note that the spirit of my posting the link was in no way based on a personal experience, but rather an effort to provide a factual ruling in regard to some of the business practices that the company may engage in. The person who responded felt that it was not fair to post it because the people on the page are satisfied with their agreements. While that may or may not be the case, it's quite possible that it's because they don't know that some of their agreements may or may not be ethical. Furthermore, my post did not provide a personal opinion, but rather a statement about the decision and the link.

"Hello Jerry

Thank you for your post on the Strategic Book Publishing Page

AEG Principal, Robert Fletcher, ordered by the Superior Count of Massachusetts, to pay attorney fees to defendants in lost civil case...
http://www.sfwa.org/beware/fletcher%20decision_20090811100047.pdf

It has however been removed for obvious reasons. I rather think it is in poor taste to post comments such as that, more particularly on a page which is fanned and populated by SBP/EB Authors, who clearly have no complaints and are quite satisfied with their author/publisher relationship, and who are quite obviously aware of the negative publicity disgruntled persons attempt to create.

I would respectfully ask that you refrain from posting comments on the SBP page in the future, and afford us the same courtesy as we in turn afford other organisations or individuals.

Sincerely
###### ######
Blogging Leader / Social Media Expert
Strategic Book Publishing/AEG Publishing Group"

DaveKuzminski
08-14-2009, 04:11 PM
Could the obvious reasons be that they don't want their victims to learn they're being defrauded?

James D. Macdonald
08-14-2009, 04:11 PM
I would respectfully ask that you refrain from posting comments on the SBP page in the future, and afford us the same courtesy as we in turn afford other organisations or individuals.

Should we find the lies that Fletcher has posted about me, about others, and about organizations such as SFWA?

To quote Robert Fletcher (writing as "Georgina Orr" (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8286&page=2)): "Also, they have blocked our rebuttal posts and deleted our prior posts. In short, a very one-sided message board!"

victoriastrauss
08-14-2009, 08:23 PM
and afford us the same courtesy as we in turn afford other organisations or individuals.

That's rich...especially if you read the entire text of the ruling, which mentions the blackmail and other threats Writer Beware staff received from Fletcher.

- Victoria

rejectME
08-14-2009, 08:55 PM
That's rich...especially if you read the entire text of the ruling, which mentions the blackmail and other threats Writer Beware staff received from Fletcher.

- Victoria

I thought so, too, but I didn't reply as she (Unless it's actually him) probably doesn't even know about most the ongoing issues. Of course they also wouldn't want to lose all those fees they are charging the poor 58 fans the company has on Facebook.... Oops! It's 57 'cause I had to be a "fan" in order to post.

tomtom
08-15-2009, 01:34 AM
Yeah..but he still needs his ass kicked!

CaoPaux
08-20-2009, 10:59 PM
Uncle Jim has posted a lovely post-mortem analysis over at Making Light: http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/011525.html#011525

kct webber
08-28-2009, 03:11 PM
What a nightmare for you guys. I can't tell you how much I respect you all for taking the heat and standing up to people like him. A great outcome.

What he said. :)

Congrats. A little late, but still. :)

sandyn
08-28-2009, 08:39 PM
Hallelujah and O, Happy Day!

As one who was nearly caught in their web but was saved by this site, I commend Victoria and Ann and all who put themselves out there to bring this fraud down.

Thank you all!

James D. Macdonald
08-29-2009, 02:54 AM
Yeah..but he still needs his ass kicked!

Now his neighbors are learning about him.

Ann passed this link to me, and I'm passing it to you.

From the Broward-Palm Beach New Times,
In Boca, Even the Book Publishers Are Fraud Suspects (http://blogs.browardpalmbeach.com/juice/2009/08/book_publisher_boca_raton_scam.php)

DaveKuzminski
08-29-2009, 06:13 AM
I noticed the Broward-Palm Beach New Times even managed to reproduce his image complete with sleaze.

rejectME
08-29-2009, 06:50 AM
Dave, don't you have a Benedict something or other literary agency listed as strongly Not Recommended, on P&E, which just so happens to be in Boca? Ha. I think that dude has a few names, too!

DaveKuzminski
08-29-2009, 07:18 AM
It's just listed as not recommended. They're not Fletcher in their achievements. However, just to be safe, they might want to make sure they don't come to the attention of the same court.