(not two hours after publication, updates ahoy!)
Since I last posted about the vexatious defamation suit that Ellora’s Cave filed against Dear Author and Jane Litte, a number of things related to the case have happened.
(Some other significant shit has also happened, which has made me think a lot about what I’m doing here and elsewhere. I hope to be able to post something coherent about these thoughts in the next few days.)
Some of them are significant, some of them not so much, but all the same here you have some thoughts on the matter, with plenty of linkage.
For starters, Courtney Milan was the guest on the SmartBitches podcast on Friday October 17th. (You can read the transcript here.) During the first half of the podcast, which I found utterly fascinating, they talked about Ms Milan’s reaction to the suit, her reaction to Tina Engler/Jaid Black’s statements about matters of law Ms Milan is well versed on, and generally educated yours truly on what was going on with the lawsuit up to the point the interview was recorded.
One of the things both SBSarah and Ms Milan mention is just how expensive the lawsuit is actually going to be–for Jane, obviously, but also for EC. I find it very interesting now that Ms Milan, in her most excellent “Why is Tina Engler economically irrational? #notchilled” post quotes the sum of $75,000.00
Why was that interesting, you ask? Well, keep on reading.
On Monday October 20th, Dear Author moved the lawsuit from state to federal court. Ms Milan tweeted about how this is significant, starting here. For those of us not on twitter, and for the sake of space, I’m taking screenshots instead of embedding each tweet separately–remember to click to embiggen and to read each screenshot from bottom up.
So the move to federal court is to the obvious advantage to Dear Author and Jane Litte. Passive Guy, however, has a slightly different take, with this to say:
There are a wide range of reasons that a defendant might want to remove a lawsuit to federal court, but, as a general proposition, many attorneys feel that the quality of federal judges and magistrates may be higher than that of state judges (although PG will attest to exactly the opposite being the case on many occasions) and that some state court judges may tend to give the benefit of the doubt to a local litigant (ditto for exactly the opposite).
At a minimum, this indicates to PG that Ellora’s Cave will have a real fight on its hands. He is not familiar with Ohio laws and practices, but many federal courts have the reputation for not putting up with a lot of smoke and mirrors on the part of parties or their attorneys. In prior litigation in state court, EC reportedly was extremely dilatory in responding to requests for financial documents, etc. PG would not have wanted to try to defend such behavior in most of the federal courts where he appeared in past years.
An upset federal judge sitting in his/her court can be an intimidating presence.
Readers of Popehat will wholeheartedly agree with that last sentiment (enjoy this, forgive me the time suck–24 pages, and Judge Wood opens with, “The first rule of holes, according to an old saying, is to stop digging.” Pure win, I tell you.)
Late on Tuesday October 21st Marc Randazza, attorney for Jane Litte and Dear Author, as well as First Amendment Badass, filed an Opposition to the Motion for Preliminary Injunction that Ellora’s Cave had filed. Mr Randazza’s Opposition is a thing of beauty. Ms Milan is hosting .pdfs of the document here, so you can see for yourself. 25 pages of excellence, indeed.
For those of us who do not have a background in law, yesterday Ms Milan published an also excellent breakdown of the opposition in her blog, expanding on some bits that are not apparent to the untrained eye: The Exciting World of the TRO! #notchilled.
I would strongly encourage anyone following the case to read the exhibits. These are voluntary declarations by former Ellora’s Cave authors and editors who are speaking the truth as they know it–and in at least one case, they have the screenshots to prove their words. And these are brave women, because dog knows what they risk by speaking out after TE/JB thinly veiled threats.
And while all this is going on, we should keep in mind that as of the filing of the Opposition on Tuesday, Jane’s cost were already approaching $30,000 (or would have been if Mr Randazza hadn’t agreed to represent her at a discount–even with that discount, I’m scared to think of the bottom line on that bill).
Jane had set aside $20,000 of her own money, and we, romance readers and authors, fans and detractors of Dear Author and of Jane alike, raised another $50,000 in a weekend. In the time since, another $4,000 plus have been donated via the GoFundMe platform; from those who are boycotting GoFundMe, SBSarah received donations through alternative means, yet other people donated using PayPal (with a note in the buyer’s instructions–see the Dear Author/Jane Litte Defense Fund page for instructions on all three alternatives).
I urge anyone and everyone who can, to help. We truly don’t know how far will TE/JB be willing to take this, but judging from previous instances, it may well be a long, slow slog.
This morning, Courtney Milan tweeted that Dear Author’s answer to the original complaint and
Jane’s Dear Author’s counterclaim have also been filed (she’s graciously hosting the answer here and the counterclaim here). Here, again in screenshot form, her tweets so far (will update as Ms Milan adds more detail):
On that note, I would like to express my gratitude to Ms Milan, not only for taking the time to share her expertise on the matter, but for being such a staunch defender of the First Amendment. I don’t think many of us truly appreciate what this defense means for everyone. Thank you, Ms Milan.
(a correction, thanks to Ms Milan’s tweet:)