Thursday, February 10, 2011

Maid sues author of The Help

Correction: Ms. COoper worked in Ms. Stockett's brother's home, not Ms. Stockett and cared for his child.

Ablene Cooper filed suit against Kathryn Stockett, the author of The Help, for $75,000 in damages for intentional infliction of emotional distress in Hinds County Circuit Court yesterday. Ms. Cooper worked as a maid in Ms. Stockett's home and also "served as a babysitter" for Ms. Stockett's child.

Ms. Cooper alleges she asked Ms. Stockett not to use her "name and likeness" in the novel and Ms. Stockett refused. Ms. Cooper claims "It has been emotionally upsetting and highly offensive to Ablene to be falsely portrayed in "The Help" as an African-American maid in Jackson, Mississippi who uses thi skind of language and compares her skin color to a cockroach" and that her "portrayal of Ablene in such a false light is highly offensive to a reasonable person." Ms. Cooper also states Ms. Stockett still refuses to acknowledge her misappropriation of Ms. Cooper's identity and treatment of her as well. Ms. Cooper stipulates her damages should be limited to $75,000.



76 comments:

Anonymous said...

So, if Stockett just asserts that everything in the book about Aibileen is true and correct and are actual occurrences then does Cooper have cause?

Anderson said...

I didn't read the book (and my computer never allows whatever program that is KF uses to post docs).

Does Stockett really call the maid character "Ablene Cooper"?

Anonymous said...

"Ms. Cooper alleges she asked Ms. Stockett not to use her "name and likeness" in the novel and Ms. Stockett refused."

If this is true I think Ms. Cooper has a legal right to sue Ms. Stockett and seek damages.

Anonymous said...

9:25, this may answer you question

Elements of a Claim for Unlawful Use of Name or Likeness

A plaintiff must establish three elements to hold someone liable for unlawful use of name or likeness:

1. Use of a Protected Attribute: The plaintiff must show that the defendant used an aspect of his or her identity that is protected by the law. This ordinarily means a plaintiff's name or likeness, but the law protects certain other personal attributes as well.
2. For an Exploitative Purpose: The plaintiff must show that the defendant used his name, likeness, or other personal attributes for commercial or other exploitative purposes. Use of someone's name or likeness for news reporting and other expressive purposes is not exploitative, so long as there is a reasonable relationship between the use of the plaintiff's identity and a matter of legitimate public interest.
3. No Consent: The plaintiff must establish that he or she did not give permission for the offending use.
http://www.citmedialaw.org/legal-guide/using-name-or-likeness-another

Anonymous said...

She has one hell of a lawyer I know that.....look out Stockett...looks like you might be eating a "$h*&" pie!

Anonymous said...

is there a legal reason for limiting it to $75,000; perhaps to avoid a federal case?

shane said...

who is her lawyer?

Anonymous said...

Limiting the damages to $75,000 keeps the matter from being "removed" to federal court. When the parties are completely "diverse," or citizens of two separate states and the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000, the out of state defendant is entitled to "remove" the case to federal court, where the jury pool is much larger (drawn from the entire Southern District of Mississippi in this case) and the judges tend to be more sophisticated. Basically, if this were to go to a jury, the plaintiff's aim is to draw a jury from Hinds County only rather than the entire southern half of Mississippi, which would be more friendly to her cause.

Rebekah Hixon said...

The character in the book is Abilene...and she specifilly says all characters in the book are fiction.
I think this is absurd and a way to extort free money. And the book has been out for while now...why just bring this up now? Is it perhaps because of the success of the book?
Emotional distress my ass. Give me a break. This is yet another way people abuse their rights...just because you have the right to sue doesn't mean you should. Sorry for my lack of empathy, but this is ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

Extortion! Plain and simple. If it went to jury trial I am quite sure that there would be more that $75k in expenses for both sides so a no win situation. Seventy-five grand is an easy number to get under and for the defense to rationalize settling and making it go away expeditiously and it is a tidy sum for a days work for the plaintiff's team.

For the sake of humanity, don't do it!

Darryl Hamilton said...

Yeah, this is nothing but a money grab...will never see the inside of a courtroom as they will settle this quietly.

Kingfish said...

I can not think of a case that better explains the systemic racism in Mississippi. Rich white girl becomes a star and rich exploiting the black servant. Who says time have changed?

Rebekah Hixon said...

I seriously doubt she paid for said attorney. More than likely, he agreed to take her case and will only be paid if she wins...and he will get a nice percentage out of it....close to around 30%. SO she will never see the entire amount. 75 grand is an odd amount too. I think this entire thing is bogus. There is also no proof that a conversation between author and Abilene ever took place...just the word from a disgruntled ex employee who is trying to extort money off her ex employer's success. What a waste of time....

Anonymous said...

I understand it is fun to snipe at people from the cheap seats, but $75,000 is not an odd number. It is a jurisdictional amount, like 10:45 stated, and it is strategic.

There is also no proof that a conversation between author and Abilene ever took place...just the word from a disgruntled ex employee who is trying to extort money off her ex employer's success. What a waste of time....

Facts are generally presumed true at the pleading stage. The Defendant will deny or admit them. Then there could be a trial to determine what is and what is not true. It really is a great system. Beats the hell out of some of the other ones around the world.

and she specifilly says all characters in the book are fiction.

Disclaimers are usually there to CYA. It is a defense, but it doesn't make any of the allegations more or less true. Again, the system will flush this out.

I don't know all the circumstances, but if they are half of what the complaint alleges, Ms. Stockett didn't do a very good job protecting the real people she based her story on. I think 9:55 hit this case head on - if Stockett was asked not to use Ms. Cooper's name and likeness, then Stockett should prepare to write a check.

Anonymous said...

Who is the attorney?

Anonymous said...

Maybe Scanlon-Taylor Millwork should sue also. My question is why did Ms Stockett find it necessary to use real names if it is fiction.

bill said...

Someone needs to warn Cooper High School in Abilene, Texas, commonly known as - you guessed it - Abilene Cooper in Texas high school football circles. BB

bill said...

Fellow fans of Texas high school football will be familiar with Cooper High School in Abilene, which is known as - you guessed it - Abilene Cooper. Guess they need to call their lawyer and see if they can get in on the money grab now that The Help has sold millions of copies and has been made into a movie. BB

Rebekah Hixon said...

HA!! Bill love it. This is a ridiculous lawsuit....just a means to get easy money

Anonymous said...

2:06- Ms. Cooper's first name is Ablene, not Abilene.

Anonymous said...

Rebekah Hixon, let me ask you this.
If someone you knew well decided to write a book and disclose things about you in the book without your permission, wouldn't you be bothered? Even though the author spelled your name Rebecca Hixon - you knew what was written involved you.
Would you just ignore it despite having asked the author not to involve you or your likeness in the book because what was written is an embarrassment to you?

Anonymous said...

3:12
If it is true...does it matter?

Rebekah Hixon said...

I am sure it would bother me..some...but if it's the truth then I would have no choice but to accept it..get over it...and move on.
The author was sloppy by using the name, but that's life. Does it merit a lawsuit? Uh, no.
It all goes along with the saying "be careful what you say and be careful what you do"...because someday someone might write about it.

Anonymous said...

Can the jury decide to award her more than $75,000--without an appeal being able to be made to a Federal court?

A person that makes money off of the exploitation of an average citizen is a small person indeed. The author should be please that she can get away with her antics for a mere $75,000.

Hixon, I do admire you boldness in revealing your name--especially with the comments you provide. Perhaps it is not your intention, but to the rest of the gen pop, you will sound like a spoiled brat, racist. If you are employed, hopefully--for your sake--your employer doesn't read JJ, and you have no plans to seek a ever seek public office. Boldness will bring you down when you least expect it.

Kaptain Kangaroo said...

If you are so high and mighty 6:17PM wouldn't that necessitate you showing your name to demonstrate how pious you are?

Anonymous said...

great atty?! never heard of sanders. and stewart?? check recent appellate case wherein she got slammed for moving out of her office without complying with lease terms-- her own witnesses contradicted her sworn testimony, and she's got to pay big bucks for her rather nasty behavior.
bet 'abby' (i don't want to get sued!) never asked not to be in book, was probably flattered at the idea-- why didint/doesnt she just write her own book making fun of the white folk? bet she wdnt get sued.

Anonymous said...

Stewart was Frank Melton's attorney

Anonymous said...

In the case of the book, the author says it fictitious--which may be a lie. Apparently there are many parallels between fiction and the truth--enough so that people that know Ablene will think it's the truth about her. Her family, her friends, her church community, her employer, etc, will all believe it as true because of the details the author uses that are exact to Ablene.

How awful it must be for Ablene to have to explain to everyone in her life that she did not say or do the things depicted in a semi-fictitious book.

Anonymous said...

6.17
jeez. look up the difference between an appeal and removal. they are blatantly trying to keep this out of fed realm and infant to take advantage of hinds county's 80% black population. how do you spell racism?

take your 'gen pop' credentials and start your career at starbuck's.

Anonymous said...

Kaptain Kangaroo: You misinterpret. I am not high and mighty. I was only offering advice.

I was once bold like Hixon in believing that whatever I said and did with the truest intentions would be what I would be judged upon. I learned that works only with God. The rest of the world really doesn't give a sh$t if your intentions are good or bad.

I suffered many professional set-backs due to my boldness in telling the truth (on behalf of the public's interest) to management in the public service realm. It turns out that looking out for the public was not so good for my career. I found out the hard way that being "Anonymous" is a good thing for me personally. Being bold can provide the opportunity for others to smash you, use you as a scapegoat, and tell HR on paper that you are in the wrong.

I have read Hixon's comments on other articles. I do admire her boldness in using her name. However, I felt the need to attest to her that boldness, in my case, was not the best avenue. Live and learn.

Anonymous said...

Just to summarize, a plaintiff says her case is worth less than $75,000 in order to avoid the case being "removed" to Federal Court. "Removed" means the case is taken out of Hinds County (State court), and transferred to the Federal district court.

The Federal Court happens to be in Hinds Co., but the jury in Federal Court comes from the entire district of that Court, which is much larger than Hinds Co. and contains fewer African Americans, percentage-wise, than Hinds Co. Therefore, you get a higher percentage of African Americans on your jury if you keep this case in Hinds Co. and out of the Fed. Court. The strategic reason for doing this, espcially in this case, should be obvious.

Just because a plaintiff says her damges are worth less than $75,000, doesn't mean she is limited to recovering that amount. A jury can award much, much more (the plaintiff attorneys are counting on it).

The case is not removed to Federal Court after a verdict comes back higher than $75,000.

Plaintiff attorneys frequently take 50% of any recovery, plus expenses. Given the (probably national) publcity this case will generate, I wouldn't be surprised if they asked for much less, just so they could get the exposure.

Hope this clears it up. Apologies to our federal court regulars if I got any of the details wrong (can't ever remember if it's at, above or below 75K to trigger). We paint with broad strokes in state court.

Anonymous said...

7:41 - does this also mean that Judge Tomie Green gets to make the rulings in the case, rather than a federal judge? I'm sure that didn't escape the attorney's notice either in a case like this....

Anonymous said...

I have no personal experience with Greene, but I have heard and read her rulings in the media that she is extremely lazy and seems to be intentionally negligent--when she presides over cases involving non-African American people. As a lay person to law--yet a person that has half a sense that God gave a goose--it will be a fricken racial fiasco if Greene handles the case--absolving all merit and dignity to the plaintiff's cause for justice. Greene will just add to more racial issues in the case--as her record leads us to believe. Just saying.

Anonymous said...

8:52, I don't know which judge they drew. Supposedly, judges are randomly assigned to cases. I tend to beleive this is true, because I've had plaintiffs file multiple complaints, then voluntarily dismiss the ones which were assigned to "defense oriented" judges. Often, they got away with this, because you wouldn't know they filed a complaint unless they served you with it.

As for Judge Green, I will just let her record on appeal speak for itself.

Anonymous said...

Where does Stockett live? If she is a resident of MS, she cannot remove the case to fed ct regardless of whether the amount in controversy exceeds $75k.

Anonymous said...

The book is fantastic and Abiline is my favorite character in the book....

It does seem like a little bit of quick money and attorney greed!

Anonymous said...

I can tell you why its 75 K. After legal fees and taxes it leaves just enought to by a nice new car.

She should get some of the royalties for crying out loud

Anonymous said...

Rebekah,

I think you're assuming a number of things in your comments that betray how you feel in general about individuals protecting their rights via lawsuit in America.

Earlier in the thread (about the third or fourth post), a poster identified the legal elements of Unlawful Use of Name/Appropriation. The elements are clear. That tort, not created in Mississippi courts by the way, but recognized as common law across the land, is an invasion of privacy; one that would outrage you if it happened to someone in your family.

You are probably right re: her not "paying" for an attorney, if you mean on an hourly basis by monthly invoice. It's called a contingency fee, and is not an inherently crooked arrangement. In fact, for most people that can't afford to pay a lawyer $200/hr., it's the only way to access the legal system. So, you are correct that Ms. Cooper won't "get all of the $75,000.00". Also, I would bet that the agreement she signed gave her the option to pay hourly versus contingency, and probably even may have given her the option to choose after a settlement/verdict was reached, so that she would benefit from the most economical outcome. That's what many lawyers do for their clients.

So, ultimately, it's no different than if her lawyer charged her $225/hr., then a jury awarded her $75,000.00, and she had outstanding bills of ~$30,000 for the time to get the case to verdict. She still wouldn't "get" all of money. That's common sense.

Of course, you're more bothered by your assumptions that this woman is "extorting" "easy money" from Ms. Stockett. Do you have some specialized knowledge that Ablene Cooper is lying in her allegations in the Complaint? If you don't, you might want to reserve judgment.

I can't speak for you, nor can I speak for Ms. Cooper. I am a white male, who had an African-American "maid" growing up. If you would have asked me when I was a child, I would have told you that she thought of herself as "part of our family", because I didn't understand that it was a JOB for her. In truth, she didn't think she was a family member of mine, nor did she aspire to be. My ignorance and naivete caused me to assume those things.

It appears, from this pleading, that Ms. Stockett assumed that her former care-taker wouldn't be insulted or harmed by her very transparent "fictionalization" of her character in a book that framed her as using a "negro" dialect for dramatic effect and had her compare her skin color to an insect's hue.

You have no idea about whether Ms. Cooper was humiliated by this in her family and social circles, or how much embarassment it has caused her. I don't either, but I do know she felt moved to take this action, which would suggest that it has had the effect that she describes.

Cont'd next post-

Anonymous said...

And the commentors are correct about the $75,000 being a jurisdictional tactic to prevent removal to federal court. Any good attorney strategizes the best venue for their client, as it is a part of the representation.

Keeping the case in Hinds County is an astute move, but certainly not a "slam dunk". The conclusion that the learned commentors on this board have reached is that a Hinds County case = lots of African-American jurors by default, and by extension, a rigging of the system by an African-American plaintiff. Unfortunately, as with most generalized assumptions, that's not always correct.

The assumption that this woman is looking for a way to get "a new car", or "easy money" out of this is insulting to everyone, including yourself. Litigation is a meat-grinder, and there's nothing "easy" about exposing yourself and your insecurities, your hurts, to a the public.

I don't think you can reach your conclusions until you've stood in her shoes. I'm not purporting to know how she feels, but I am willing to give her the benefit of the doubt.

Andrew Newcomb

bill said...

How has this lady been damaged, other than the severe emotional distress, revulsion, etc.? Has she been fired from her job because her employer believed she was the person in the book? Has she been unable to find employment because of it? I wonder if the horrible pain and suffering that Ms. Cooper has endured would have been as bad had the book sold hundreds of copies instead of millions? I wonder how many justice-minded plaintiff's attorneys would be interested in taking up her case against a self-published author who only sold a few hundred copies in the metro area? If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck it's usually a duck. This has all the characteristics of a blatant money grab.

Hang in there, Rebekah. It's hard for some of these folks to understand that it's best to only write what you're willing to sign. Bill Billingsley

Anonymous said...

I signed it, Bill. Your "wonder" about whether her pain and suffering would have been as bad if the book would've sold hundreds, instead of millions, is relevant to the analysis, just not for the reason you cite.

If the book had been a small release, then less people would have read the characterization of Ms. Cooper. Instead, as you say, millions of people have read the book and appreciate the character of Abilene to be a person who speaks English in a derivative dialect, and who has some degree of self-loathing about her skin color and status. Now, she might not know any more of the millions that have read the book, but certainly the idea that the population at large knows her as a caricature of herself must not be particularly comforting.

So, the size of the distribution of the book has direct correlation to the impact on Ms. Cooper.
As for your question about how she's been damaged, that is what is so wonderful about the American jury system. That question will be weighed by her peers. They may find that she hasn't been damaged to the extent demanded. They may find that she has.

Again, I'm not in her shoes. And neither are you. It's presumptuous to think you know what her emotions are, and it's cynical to believe that they're inherently wrong.

Andrew Newcomb

Anonymous said...

Andrew, I couldn't agree more. However, I must stay anonymous in case I run for public office someday.

Anonymous said...

By the way, Aibileen wasn't the only local name used. Remember the VanDevenders? I'll bet my bank account that Stockett got THEIR permission.

Anonymous said...

The proof that it is fiction is given in their own filing. She said she did not say the bit about the cockroach in her filings but yet it is in the book.

Anonymous said...

If she used my name and personality for a character in a book when I had asked her not to use my name and/or my 'likeness' (descriptions of my personality), I'd be tempted to sue her too.

Rebekah Hixon said...

I use my name because I 100% stand behind my words....I am not a coward and hide behind an anon identitiy. This forum is based on opinions...and it is my opinion that this lawsuit is bullsh*t. How that makes me racist and spoiled is beyond me. I didn't mention color. I can't help it that Ms. Cooper happens to be black..I would say the same thing if she were white, yellow, purple, or polka dotted. A bullshit lawsuit is a bullshit lawsuit no matter what color is it.
I don't plan to run for office. But as I said earlier, I stand behind what I say. I might stick my foot in my mouth at times, but I own up to it. What you see is what you get with me. I can't help what offends others and what doesn't. I don't beat around the bush or sugarcoat things. No one said you have to like it....no one said I have to care either.
Once again, this lawsuit is bogus and I think she is trying to extort money. Next......

Anonymous said...

No. Once again YOUR OPINION is that this lawsuit is bogus. Next...

Rebekah Hixon said...

Touche'

Anonymous said...

I agree with Rebekah. Seems some of u wish you had the balls to say what was really on your mind.
And even though her words may be brash at times, you have to respect a woman who stands up for what she believes in and isn't afraid of what everyone else thinks.

Darryl Hamilton said...

...There is also no proof that a conversation between author and Abilene ever took place...

Ms. Hixon stated this earlier in one of her posts. And it remains spot-on, center-cup. And her personal observations are like those of the rest of us on here. I appreciate the elucidation provided by Mr. Newcomb as clearly he understands these processes better than us non-lawyers. That said, he does not appear to oppose Ms. Hixon's opinion that this is a grab-n-go by the plaintiff. The meat grinder reference was cute, too...

The provision of proof that the plaintiff's identity was to be kept confidential is the lynchpin to this case it would seem.

Andrew said...

Darryl,

Ms. Hixon was jumping to a conclusion when she said that there's no proof that a conversation between the author and Ms. Cooper ever took place.

How one could deduce that no such conversation took place from simply reading the Complaint is beyond me. Now, if Ms. Hixon has some specific information that would support the statement, then that's a horse of a different color. Otherwise, it's just her saying so.

Generally, in my experience, a person does not file a lawsuit without some kernel of evidence that they believe substantiates their claim. I am willing to wager that there is a letter, an e-mail, a witness, or some other type of evidence that would affirm Ms. Cooper's allegations.

If there's not, then the case won't go far. Again, our judicial system weeds out poor cases with many checks along the way.

Also, Daryl, I don't think the case is a "Grab-n-Go", from the allegations in the Complaint. It appears quite legitimate to me. If, again, none of the allegations prove true, then maybe so. I do not begrudge this woman the right to defend her reputation among her family and friends.

Andrew Newcomb

Anonymous said...

Andrew,

I believe the problem with your analysis is that your argument over a "kernal" as the basis for a lawsuit is the very problem Mrs. Hixon deplores.

I might add, many do too.

Kaptain Kangaroo said...

Andrew your claim our judicial system weeds out poor cases with many checks along the way may hold water in your LARGER town, but here, these folks like to run their courts as they see fit.

Why do think that more lawsuits are brought to MS than CA? Ever really wonder about the true economy of MS? Its most prosperous industry is the Legal industry. Sad, but true.

Most "from here" would not admit this, the others wouldn't know better.

Anonymous said...

Ed Sanders represents the victim...he's worked with some fabled plaintiffs attorneys across the nation...bright guy...would not want him on me

Anonymous said...

$75000 is a bargain price for the publicity this lawsuit is going to bring, especially with the movie coming out soon.

If I were Stockett's publisher or the movie folks over at Dreamworks, I wouldn't be in too big of a hurry for Stockett to settle.

Anonymous said...

I've read the book and Ablene should be flattered if people think she is Abilene.

Mr. Newcomb, you and I both know that there are attorneys who file nuisance lawsuits for a contingency because they know it is cheaper for the defendent to settle than to go to court. The attorney will profit as it takes very little billable time to file and have a couple of settlement calls. You and I know that some attorneys look for that sort of opportunity and solicit clients.

I've watched this practice, not only give the entire legal profession a bad name, but cause our insurance rates to skyrocket.

Worse, such suits have resulted in caps so that deep pocket corporations are able to harm the consumer knowing that if they are caught, their profit margin will still exceed their ligitgation costs. The Ford Pinto case facts are an example of a case where the current caps, had they been in place, would have resulted in Ford profitting from knowingly endangering all those who bought a Pinto .

These sort of suits have so adversely affected our society that, frankly, I consider those who are so dishonorable as to file them to be un-patriotic.

I happen to think that a fair and just legal system is more than a little bit critical to the success and survival of a democratic republic.

A jury that has read the book, would not find that Ms Cooper has been damaged. Were I Ms. Stockett, I would either send every potential juror in Hinds Co the book on tape or else delay until the movie comes out.

Anonymous said...

Everyone needs to go back and read post #4 again. Ms. Cooper was not a public figure, nor was her employment as a maid a matter of legitimate public interest.

It isn't about damages, it's about exploitation. It doesn't matter one bit if Ms. Cooper felt embarassed, degragded, or anything else. Those are just terms being used to tug at the heartstrings of the jury. Ms. Cooper is going after the profit, not damages.

The suit has merit, now it will be up to the judicial system to see if compensation (not dmamages) will be awarded. Ms. Stockton has profited by using Ms. Cooper's likeness.

This is likely a warning shot over the bow of the movie company that they had better come up with some sort of licensing agreement with Ms. Cooper before releasing it. Probably a lot more than $75,000 to be made from that.

Seriously though, how hard would it have been to call the character Maribelle instead of Ablene.

Rebekah Hixon said...

It was pretty sloppy to use that name in the book....

Anonymous said...

1220... ding ding, we have a winner!

Anonymous said...

Hixon has a conscience! She actually found it in her heart to care about non-white and non-privileged people!

Rebekah Hixon said...

Has nothing to do with a conscience...it was dumb to use a real name..has ZERO to do with race or income...idiot...
I still stand by my opinion but it was sloppy to use real names...
And before you throw stones like a 10 year old, have the balls to use your name.

Anonymous said...

10 year old, my ass. You are the spoiled, white, racist, bitch juvenile. You are too stupid and frigid to see your own ways--diabla!

Rebekah Hixon said...

Awe! Poor thing got his whittle feelings hurt....
But if you want to continue the preschool name calling, please do so in email. Stick to the topic and stop wasting uninterested readers' time by posting immature crap....or start your own blog....leave this one to the grownups.
Kisses

Anonymous said...

10:20 I wouldn't be at all surprised if the movie studio was frantically re-shooting scenes right now so the maid is now named "Maribelle" or something else. It was dumb to use a real name (or an almost identical name) especially if the author was speficially asked not to invade the privacy of someone who wasn't a public figure.

Anonymous said...

Although stated in a somewhat different way, I agree with 10:20 a.m. There is a legal claim here, whether you choose to believe it's "frivolous", or has some merit. I have already given my opinion on that.

However, in talking with my wife last night about this issue, she had a different view that I hadn't considered. She read the book, and before I told her about the lawsuit, I asked her if she remmebered the character and whether she took away a positive impression of Abilene.

She said, generally, yes, although she was portrayed as someone with limited education in a caricature-like fashion. I thought that was significant in and of itself.

When she asked why I had inquired, and I told her about the suit, she observed that the main theme of the book was how a group of African-American women had voiced their concerns about being exploited to a young white woman, and how that young white woman dealt with that in her head as well as how she tried to help them.

My wife was struck by the parallel in real-life, e.g., this African-American woman was asking specifically not to be exploited by Ms. Stockett (the use of her real name and likeness in the book), in much the same way, and Ms. Stockett chose to go ahead as she had planned.

She said that it profoundly changed the way she viewed the book and the author, as it appeared that the author had missed the greater point of her own story.

FWIW.

Andrew Newcomb

Anonymous said...

I already left a comment but it didn't get on. I quit reading this book when the description of the "pie" showed up. Stockett has taken great licence writing this book! It could have been really great, but she embroidered the facts...which would have been so much better. How stupid to use that name. I don't blame MS. Cooper at all. I find the book repulsive. I was raised in the 50s and the 60s. These maids were for the most part dignified and honorable, doing lowly jobs.

Anonymous said...

Believe whatever you like but I know for a fact that Ms. Cooper has a very solid case. Mrs. Stockett was wrong for using Ms. Cooper's image and took great thought into doing so even after she was asked not too.

Anonymous said...

If she had been writing a book using her lawyer's name and likeness and the lawyer said s/he didn't want to be in the novel, I imagine the request would have been honored.

Anonymous said...

Newcomb makes an excellent point in the 9:54 post (and other posts).

Thanks for the insight.

Anonymous said...

This is crazy, but it can be put to rest quick and swifty give Lawyer $70,000 give poor poor Client $5000.00. The American Dream, US needs 100 Million more Lawyers. They create jobs and economic growth for China. Us judicial system corrupt.

Anonymous said...

Phillip is over on his blog trying to get the author to give him a new client.

Re: the previous post, as I stated at 7:41, the lawyer is probably taking this case for close to nothing.

LASIS_BLOG said...

New York Law School's legal reporting blog analyzes the real life help's lawsuit against the author and whether she has any chance of success: http://www.lasisblog.com/2011/03/07/maid-looking-to-%e2%80%9cclean-up%e2%80%9d-in-lawsuit/

Anonymous said...

Ablene Cooper should rejoice and jump on the bandwagon rather than kick a gift horse in the mouth. If she would embrace the fictitious book which has a character with a similarly spelled first name, she could go on every talk show in America and probably write her own book, making lots more than $75K before legal fees. Apparently while ironing, she has watched the "get rich quick" commercials from "One Call, That's All" mentality.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone direct me to a site or blog that might actually reach Stockett? Loved the book, think the lawsuit is ridic. My bone of contention is this: just as I suspected it would, the book ends without us ever seeing the white characters get their come-uppance! That pisses me of! But isn't it always that way, especially in material where race is involved? We see the victims get mistreated, traumatized and ruined but never see the villains get what they deserve. SO...I want Stockett to write a second book all about how those white heifers get what they deserve! (and I'm white, thank you very much)

Anonymous said...

Uh, could be the a$$holes who deserved a comeuppance never did get it, and her book is just reflecting reality. Just sayin'.......

ARNorment said...

I have read the book. Loved it, by the way. I am neither rich nor white. During the 1960's,in a lot of southern homes,the help was not allowed to use the bathrooms in their white employer's homes. Many of the maids were not well educated. Many of the maids did speak in a dialect as portrayed in the book. Many did speak of their own skin as portrayed in the book.

I have read that Ms. Ablene Cooper works for Ms. Stockett's brother and sister-in-law. Why are they not sueing? The character of the female, Aibilene, worked for was not the best mother, was not a strong individual and was not a very nice person.

Ms. Cooper is 60 years old, making her 10 or 11 years old in 1962. I have to wonder, who would allow a child to raise their children, cook their meals and clean their home?

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).


Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.


In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.


Note: Security provided by INS.

Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS
.