Cara Matthews, The (Westchester County, N.Y.) Journal
THE WESTCHESTER COUNTY JOURNAL- 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.
"The 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.
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.
Lee, 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.
The federal 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 from Lee.
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 2007.
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.