On March 14, 2011 we commented on a blog posting by Victoria Strauss which appeared to imply that the delays in the Florida Attorney General’s case against Strategic Book Group may be the result of defense strategies. Strauss stated, “Suits like this often bog down in defendants’ delaying tactics, such as attempted venue changes, appealing court rulings, and firing lawyers in order to trigger a 90-day delay while a new lawyer gets up to speed.” This statement appears both on her blog and on her Facebook page. This statement was challenged on both sites by an individual who queried Strauss further: “Is that what is actually happening? Are you saying that Fletcher is delaying, using attempted venue changes, appealing court rulings (What rulings? Have there been any?) and firing lawyers to trigger a 90 day delay? It would help a lot to stay on point instead of making implications (i.e., state what you know). If you don’t know anything just say so. There could be judicial delays, administrative delays or a lack of evidence preventing further prosecution of the case. Why are [you] so quick to blame delays on the ‘defendants’?” Strauss, who has remained silent, has not replied to either of these inquiries and has not posted any primary source material to demonstrate that this strategy was being utilized by the defendant, Strategic Book Group.
Today, March 19, 2011, there appears to be a reply from Robert Fletcher, Strategic Book Group President, to the poster’s query on Strauss’ Facebook page: “I’ll help you. It’s lack of evidence and we have filed/are filing 12 motions for sanctions 57.105 which in Florida is the ‘frivolous lawsuit” counterclaim and we are filing the first of 12 defamation suits against the AG when we return from our very successful exhibition at the Abu Dhabi and Bologna book shows where it appears that we have sold at least a dozen foreign rights contracts for our authors.” We will be working to verify and confirm that the reply is in fact Robert Fletcher.
Fletcher has been down this defamation road before and did have a case thrown out previously. While it was claimed a victory by Strauss and her associates, including Ann Crispin and James D. MacDonald, Fletcher blamed his lack of prosecution on a lack of resources. Regarding the Florida Attorney General’s current case, whether it’s a “defensive delay” or a “lack of evidence” remains to be seen. We would encourage both Strauss and Fletcher (assuming the reply above is valid) to provide us documentation to support their claims. There is an obvious difference of opinion here that requires supportive documentation to substantiate the veracity of these statements. We welcome the opportunity to make this documentation available to our readers. Mrs. Strauss? Mr. Fletcher? There’s an open door here. Either provide us with the information or point us in the right direction to secure this documentation.
These postings do raise the following questions and can be readily proven with documentation:
Has Strategic Book Group engaged in delaying tactics?
Has Strategic Book Group requested a change of venue?
Have there been any court rulings in the Florida Attorney General’s case against Strategic Book Group? If so, what are they and were they appealed?
Has Strategic Book Group fired any of its lawyers and thereby creating 90-day delays in the proceedings to allow its lawyers to get up to speed?
Is the delay in prosecution of the case against Strategic Book Group the result of a lack of evidence?
What is the scope of sanctions imposed under 57.105 which in Florida is the “frivolous lawsuit”?
Considering the developments in the Cretella v. David L. Kuzminski (Predators and Editors) case, one has to begin to wonder where this case will eventually head. For the sake of argument, assume that the Florida Attorney General’s case is found to be frivolous, what sanctions, if any, could be imposed on the Attorney General’s Office? What liability, if any, ultimately rests on those that encouraged and solicited the submission of the frivolous information? What liability, if any, ultimately rests those that actually submitted the frivolous information? What liability, if any, ultimately rests those that have disseminated the frivolous news throughout the internet and industry related blogs . . . and continue to do so?