A five-judge panel of New York's Appellate Division-First Department has issued what could be a final ruling in the Lampack Vs. Grimes case that was appealed back in 2010. In the latest ruling, which focused on literary agent Peter Lampack's attempt to get royalties on a novel by former client Martha Grimes, the court upheld the lower court decision against Lampack.
Lampack's case hinged on the "option cluase" popular in authors' contracts. The clause gives publishers an exclusive window in which they can purchase future works by the author. Lampack, who represented Grimes in 2005 when she sold a book and option on a future work, to Penguin, tried to get royalties on a book Grimes then sold Penguin in 2009, as a result of the option clause. Although Lampack was not Grimes's agent in 2009, he argued that since he represented Grimes in 2005, when the option clause was drawn up, he was entitled to proceeds from the work that ultimately sold as part of that option: the 2009 novel, The Black Cat.
In the ruling, which came down on March 2, all five judges upheld the original decision.