ANNAPOLIS, Md. (CN) – Author Tom Clancy should not have been cleared from a lawsuit for breach of fiduciary duty, the Maryland Court of Appeals ruled. “Tom Clancy’s Op-Center” TV show was turned into a series of books under a partnership Clancy and his wife entered with a literary company. Another author wrote the “Op-Center” books in Clancy’s style.
The books were successful, but Clancy took steps to remove his name from them after Book 14. Clancy’s ex-wife, Wanda King, sued him for breach of fiduciary duty. The trial court found in King’s favor but later vacated its decision.
The issue at hand, Judge Harrell wrote, is whether Clancy acted in good faith.
“If a significant motive for Clancy exercising his contractual right to withdraw his name from the Op-Center series was to decrease the profitability of the series,” Harrell ruled, “because he desired to spite or punish King … it could reasonably be maintained that he acted in bad faith.”
Harrell remanded the case to the lower court to settle the “potentially competing evidence over whether Clancy acted in good faith and/or bad faith.”