Harlequin Lawsuit
Class Action Lawsuit against Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd. and related entities
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Harlequin Class Action Lawsuit:  General Information

October 16, 2014:  

Judge William H. Pauley, III certifies the class in Keiler v. Harlequin. 

May 1, 2014:

On May 1, 2014 the Second Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the dismissal of one claim in the Keiler v Harlequin Enterprises Limited et al. class action lawsuit and remanded the case to the district court for further proceedings.

September 30, 2013:

On September 30, 2013, the Romance Writers of America and the Authors Guild filed an Amicus Brief to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

August 7, 2013:

On August 7, 2013 Plaintiffs filed a Reply Brief to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

July 24, 2013:

On July 24, 2013 Harlequin filed an Opposition Brief to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

June 20, 2013:

On June 19, 2013 Plaintiffs filed an Appeal Brief to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

June 19, 2013:       Plaintiffs' Appeal Brief to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals

April 30, 2013:

On April 30, 2013 Plaintiffs filed a Notice of Appeal from the April 2, 2013 decision dismissing the First Amended Complaint.  The appeal will be heard in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

April 30, 2013:       Notice of Appeal

April 4, 2013: 

On April 2, 2013, the Court issued a decision dismissing the First Amended Complaint on the ground that, in Judge Baer's view, it did not state a claim.   The Plaintiffs are confident of the merits of their position and are considering how they will next proceed in this matter.

April 4, 2013:           
The Court Dismisses the First Amended Complaint for Failure to
State a Claim

February 9, 2013:  New Update

The following court papers have been filed to date in the lawsuit Keiler et al. v. Harlequin Enterprises Limited et al.

July 19, 2012:                 Plaintiffs' Complaint

October 19, 2012:
           Harlequin's Motion to Dismiss the Complaint.

November 5, 2012:         Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint.

November 30, 2012:       Harlequin's Motion to Dismiss the First Amended Complaint.

January 4, 2013:             Plaintiffs' Opposition to Harlequin's Motion to Dismiss the
                                                  First Amended Complaint.

January 25, 2013:           Harlequin's Reply in Support of their Motion to Dismiss

July 19, 2012:

World's #1 Romance Publisher Harlequin Subject of Class Action Suit

A class action lawsuit was filed today against Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd., the world's leading publisher of romance fiction, as well as Harlequin Books S.A., a Swiss corporation, and Harlequin Enterprises B.V., a Dutch corporation, on behalf of authors who entered into contracts with the company.

This lawsuit results from Defendant Harlequin Enterprises Limited, the world’s leading publisher of romance fiction, depriving Plaintiffs and the other authors in the class, of e-book royalties due to them under publishing agreements entered into between 1990 and 2004. Harlequin required the authors to enter into those agreements with a Swiss entity that it created for tax purposes, and that it dominates and controls. However, Harlequin, before and after the signing of these agreements, performed all the publishing functions related to the agreements, including exercising, selling, licensing, or sublicensing the e-book rights granted by the authors. Instead of paying the authors a royalty of 50% of its net receipts as required by the agreements, an intercompany license was created by Harlequin with its Swiss entity resulting in authors receiving 3% to 4% of the e-books' cover price as their 50% share instead of 50% of Harlequin Enterprises' receipts.

What this means to the authors can be illustrated by an e-book with a hypothetical cover price of $8.00. The “net receipts” made by Harlequin Enterprises Limited from the exercise, sale or license of e-book rights would be at least $4.00, of which authors would be entitled to $2.00 based on their 50% royalty. Computing the “net receipts” based on the “license” between Harlequin's Swiss entity and Harlequin Enterprises, Plaintiffs’ 50% royalty amounts to only 24 to 32 cents.

The lawsuit alleges, among other claims, that on contracts between 1990-2004:

  • Harlequin breached the terms of their publishing agreements with authors;
  • Harlequin failed to pay the Plaintiffs and members of the Class the royalties to which they are entitled under the publishing agreements;
  • Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd. is liable for unjust enrichment.

The Harlequin authors are represented by lead counsel, David B. Wolf, DavidWolfLaw pllc and co-counsel, Michael J. Boni, Boni & Zack LLC. For more information on the law firms involved, please click here. Further details are also available on the FAQs page.

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