Harper Lee, author of ??"To Kill a Mockingbird,"is suing Samuel Pinkus of Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y., her former literary agent.(Photo: The (Westchester County, N.Y.) Journal News)
Nelle Harper Lee and Hastings-on-Hudson literary agent Samuel Pinkus have reached an "agreement in principle" to settle a copyright lawsuit the famed author of To Kill a Mockingbird brought against him in May, a lawyer for Pinkus said Friday.
parties reached a mutually satisfactory resolution and everybody would
like at this point to put it behind them," said attorney Vincent
Carissimi of the Pepper Hamilton firm.
Carissimi said the
settlement was reached in the past week, and papers dismissing the case
would be filed in federal court next week. He declined to provide any
details of the settlement.
Also Friday, Pinkus' wife, Leigh Ann
Winick, and journalist and author Gerald Posner, whose Miami residence
is listed as the address of one of Pinkus' literary companies, were
dropped from the lawsuit, Carissimi said. The paperwork was filed in
federal court in the Southern District of New York.
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Lee's lawyer, Gloria Phares, along with Pinkus, Winick and Posner could not be reached for comment Friday.
Lee, who won the Pulitzer prize in 1961 for To Kill a Mockingbird, alleged in her lawsuit that Pinkus "duped" her into signing over the copyright to the novel in 2007.
87, who lives in Monroeville, Ala., said in the lawsuit she did not
recall any discussion with Pinkus about transferring the copyright over
to his company Veritas Media, or signing any document to that effect.
Her lawsuit alleged the copyright assignment to him was "a gross example
of self-dealing" and was intended to "secure to himself an irrevocable
interest in the income stream" from sales of her book.
lawsuit sought forfeiture of all commissions Pinkus and his companies
received after the copyright assignment in 2007; damages; and that
Pinkus and his companies assign whatever copyright rights they own to
Lee. The lawsuit didn't accuse Pinkus of diverting any of the royalties
In 2011, Pinkus transferred the copyright from Veritas Media to
another company he created, Philologus Procurator Inc. That company
assigned the copyright back to Lee in an April 13, 2012, letter,
according to Lee's lawsuit.
To Kill a Mockingbird sells
about 750,000 copies each year in the United States and Canada. That
doesn't include sales of the book in Great Britain and the dozens of
languages the novel has been translated into. Lee has earned millions of
dollars in royalties.
Lee's lawsuit stated that she has become
increasingly deaf in the last 15 years, her eyesight is failing, and she
has lived in an assisted-living facility since suffering a stroke in
On Thursday, Winick and Posner were dropped from a separate
lawsuit that New York City literary agency McIntosh & Otis filed in
state Supreme Court against them, Pinkus, Pinkus' multiple literary
companies and two publishers. McIntosh & Otis, which filed the case
in June, wants a percentage of commissions Pinkus earned from clients he
took with him when he left the company in 2004.
Winick's father, Eugene Winick, is CEO of McIntosh & Otis and her sister, Elizabeth Winick Rubinstein, is president.