Author Solutions Suit by Angry Authors Dismissed

     (CN) – A class action against Author Solutions, a self-publishing service, has ended with the case being voluntarily dismissed, with prejudice, and the parties agreeing to pay their own costs and attorney fees.
     Plaintiffs Kelvin James, Jodi Foster and Terry Hardy sued Author Solutions and its parent company Penguin Group USA Inc. on April 24, 2013, claiming the publisher failed to take “diligent care of its authors’ works, making numerous and egregious publisher errors … These errors include errors on book covers, in addition to various typographical and formatting errors.”
     In addition, they claimed that despite having annual revenues approaching $100 million, Author Solutions “Fails at the most basic task of a publisher: paying its authors their earned royalties and providing its authors with accurate sales statements.”
     But on July 1, 2015, U.S. District Judge Denise Cote declined to grant class certification to the plaintiffs holding that they simply hadn’t proven that Author Solutions carried out a uniform scheme to defraud the allegedly victimized class.
     “The representations about which plaintiffs complain … are by any measure soft,” Cote wrote.
     As an example, she pointed to the contracts authors sign with Author Solution and one of the hot-button issues of the case: marketing services.
     Cote notes that “Under her contract, Foster granted AS the right to market her work, but notably absent is any accompanying obligation by AS to do so.”
     “AS’s statements about its marketing services straddle the line between representation and puffery, making it all the more difficult to conclude that generalized proof could demonstrate that these statements would likely deceive a member of the public,” she wrote.
     She also rejected plaintiffs’ attempt to have two subclasses certified: purchasers of Author Solutions services in California and Colorado, again finding that in each of their cases there was no “centrally-orchestrated scheme.”
     On Monday Judge Cote signed a stipulation of dismissal, announcing the parties had “settled their dispute in its entirety.”
     Afterwards, in a statement, Author Solutions’ President and CEO Andrew Sullivan said the company was “very pleased with this outcome.”

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