Writer Wants Punitive Damages From Agent
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (CN) - A retired lawyer claims he wrote a book investigating the death of Princess Diana, and his agent extorted thousands of dollars from him to market the book. Paul Anthony Spletzer says in Westchester County Court that his book, "Her Necessary Death," concludes Princess Diana was intentionally killed. Spletzer sued BK Nelson and her eponymous firm, whom he says he hired to represent him for 20 percent commission.
"In negotiating her fee, defendant Nelson, when questioned by Spletzer as to why she charged 20 percent commission, which is believed to be twice as much as other agencies, replied that she, she personally, was worth it," the complaint states.
Spletzer says Nelson told him that he "would receive not less than $250,000 and probably $450,000 plus royalties for the rights" to his book by selling it as a film.
He claims she asked him to pay $4,000 so she could create a DVD trailer of "Her Necessary Death" and market the book to the entertainment industry in New York and Hollywood.
"Defendants stated that this trailer would be similar to the trailers seen on HBO or Showtime or those presented as coming attractions in movie houses ... that there would be actors presenting the theme of the work entitled 'Her Necessary Death,'" according to the complaint.
Spletzer says he received the trailer in May, but that it "is worthless."
"The trailer is but a collection of readily available photos of Diana, a classical music soundtrack, a screeching car crash sound, and the name 'BK NELSON' as agent and the name of plaintiff as author," according to the complaint.
Spletzer says the trailer did not use any actors and is presented in "a grossly amateurish manner."
He claims, "The trailer ... could be created by any reasonably talented high school student knowledgeable of Google in less than two hours."
Spletzer says sending the "inferior" trailer to film and theater executives will harm the reputation of his work. He seeks an injunction to bar Nelson from showing the trailer to anyone or working further on "Her Necessary Death."
BK Nelson is listed among 19 literary agencies on the "Writer Beware" list, according to the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America.
Nelson is not listed among members of the Association of Authors' Representatives, according to that group's website.
Spletzer seeks punitive damages and declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging fraud, conversion and breach of contract. He is represented by Randall Lawrence of Katonah, N.Y.