A closely watched lawsuit that had accused self-publishing service provider Author Solutions of fraud appears to be over.
On August 12, Judge Denise Cote ordered the case discontinued without prejudice after being informed by the parties that a settlement had been reached, following a court-ordered conference held on August 11. A settlement was not unexpected, coming just weeks after Cote dealt the plaintiff authors' case a presumably fatal blow by denying class action status.
The case was first filed in April, 2013, with a group of plaintiff authors pressing an array of claims against Author Solutions, and arguing that a common question augured for a class action: "Did Author Solutions engage in a fraudulent scheme to sell worthless marketing services?" In filings, the plaintiffs alleged that Author Solutions, as part of a company-wide policy, hid from consumers that "it is a telemarketing operation" based on upselling “worthless” services to unsuspecting authors.
Attorneys for Author Solutions countered that the suit was "a misguided attempt to make a federal class action out of a series of gripes.”
After two amended complaints, a shifting roster of named plaintiffs, as well as some thorny legal and jurisdictional hurdles, Cote ultimately denied the authors' bid for class certification, citing no evidence of any “centrally-orchestrated scheme” to defraud authors.
In the end, the case in New York was left with just two named plaintiffs, Mary Simmons and Jodi Foster. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.
Update: Plaintiff attorney Oren Giskan was traveling and unavailable for comment, but it is worth pointing out that the firm filed a second potential class action against Author Solutions this spring in the state of Indiana, with new representative author plaintiffs. We'll report on that suit as it progresses.