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May 25 – June 1, 2006 Edition
Guilty in Libel Case
WICHITA, KANSAS/5/25/06Kansas State Court Judge Jeff Goering is scheduled today to set the amount of punitive damages to be paid by AuthorHouse, a print-on-demand subsidy publisher, to bestselling romance author Rebecca Brandewyne, published by both Dorchester Books and Mira, a division of Harlequin.
The court found the publisher guilty of publishing a work that libeled Brandywyne, the authors ex-wife, and ordered AuthorHouse to pay $230,000 in actual damages to the famous romance author of mass-market historical romances. But the court will also set the punitive damages Thursday, May 25, under Kansas law.
The book published by AuthorHouse, Paperback Poison: the Romance Writer and the Hit Man, was written by Brandewynes ex-husband Gary D. Brock and his current wife, Debbie Brock, and released in November 2003. The work alleges that Brandewyne committed adultery, plagiarized other authors works, and hired a hit man to kill ex-husband Brock.
Though AuthorHouses contracts state they cant be held legally liable for any losses, damage, injury, or claim as the publisher, The Kansas court ruled otherwise. Brandewynes attorney said the contract doesnt free AuthorHouse from its responsibility as a publisher to vet the book first.
Bryan Smith, president and CEO of AuthorHouse, said his company is considering appealing the case when final judgments have been made.