Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing news
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Retaliatory lawsuit against Writer Beware staff dismissed
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March 26, 2009

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 (SFWA) 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 February 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 its 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 (writerbeware.com) and are major contributors to Writer Beware Blogs! (accrispin.blogspot.com).

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