Remember the lawsuit several Harlequin authors filed back in 2012, alleging that Harlequin cheated them out of ebook royalties via some questionable financial maneuvering? It was certified as a class-action suit in 2014. Now, Publishers Weekly reports that it’s finally been settled.
PW reports that the authors lost the first round, but the appeals court reversed the lower court on one of the four counts of unjust enrichment, and sent that count back down for retrial. Perhaps seeing on the writing on the wall, Harlequin—or, rather, Harlequin’s former owners, given that the publisher was sold to HarperCollins parent News Corp but they kept the liability in this case—chose to settle without admitting wrongdoing. Under the terms of the settlement, $1 million of the $4.1 million settlement fund will go to attorney fees, and the rest will be divided among authors in the affected class.
Depending on how many authors are actually in that class, it’s possible that the three who originally brought the suit—Barbara Keller, Mona Gay Thomas, and Linda Barrett—might not see much of those funds. But at least it’s a moral victory.