Dorsey & Whitney, the law firm representing Author Solutions in a class action lawsuit currently lodged with the Southern District of New York, is due to file more legal papers by close of business today, 14th May 2015. Lawyers at Giskan Solotaroff Anderson & Stewart (GSAS) are representing several authors who contracted services from Author Solutions and the law firm has so far filed three requests for class action status — one in New York (filed April 2013) and two additional suits in Indiana (November 2014 and March 2015), the US state where the self-publishing service provider is based.
Dorsey & Whitney, on behalf of Author Solutions, has been contesting the possible class action certification claiming earlier this year in its last filing that moves by lawyers at GSAS “amounts to nothing more than a hollow indictment of defendant Author Solutions […] and the entire supported self-publishing industry”. One line of defence by lawyers of Author Solutions is that class action certification (if it is granted by Judge Denise Cote) will “ignore evidence that the vast majority of AS’s customers are satisfied” with the services provided to them.
Earlier this year the lengthy process of discovery was concluded with the original lawsuit filed in New York in 2013. This included the filing of depositions (sworn statements) by staff at Author Solutions. TIPM has extensively examined these depositions papers and you can see our three-part posting of The Case Against Author Solutions here, here and here. Lawyers at GSAS stated in March that they had filed the two more suits in Indiana, and it alleges on behalf of their author claimants:
Unlike every other traditional publisher, Author Solutions seeks to make money FROM authors not FOR them.
Author Solutions preys upon the dreams of authors by selling them expensive services that sound exciting but do not actually sell any books. Their defense: They aren’t being deceptive because they aren’t trying to sell books. Of course, for nearly 200,000 authors who have paid thousands (if not tens of thousands) of dollars to buy expensive services that promised to promote their books, Author Solutions’s indifference to book sales comes as more than a bit of a surprise.
The papers filed today by law firm Dorsey & Whitney on behalf of Author Solutions (if and when they are made public) should give us a deeper insight into the defence strategy. TIPM will of course continue to examine these latest filings.
While Judge Denise Cote has yet to provide a final ruling on class action status, GSAS’s Oren Giskan told The Bookseller this morning:
We would prefer it as a class action because we believe Author Solutions treated authors in the same way in terms of the practises we’re complaining about.
A legal expert familiar with such class action lawsuits told TIPM this morning that “a decision on certification can take a matter of weeks, but sometimes it can take many, many months.” My own thoughts are that we may see further lawsuits filed in the coming months and this whole matter may roll on well into 2016. Ideally GSAS will want the class action certification granted, which will then allow them to represent all their author claimants in one case.
Law firm Giskan Solotaroff Anderson & Stewart continues to appeal to other authors who contracted the services of Author Solutions through their multiple imprints to come forward and engage with them, whether their experiences have been positive or negative. You can find out how to do that by visiting the GSAS website at this link.