A woman claims in court that her former business partner conned her out of rights to advances for the “Fifty Shades of Grey” trilogy.
Jennifer Lynn Pedroza and Christa Beebe sued Amanda M. Hayward, Australian publisher of “Fifty Shades of Grey” and TWCS Operations Pty. Ltd. in Tarrant County Court, according to Courthouse News Service.
“This is a case about greed and self-dealing by Amanda Hayward in conning her business partner Jenny Pedroza out of her rightful partnership interest in advances and royalties flowing from the New York Times best-selling ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ trilogy and in fraudulently inducting both plaintiffs into entering into contracts with a sham entity,” the 48-page lawsuit begins. “It appears that Hayward also defrauded, among others, [nonparties] Random House, and E.L. James, author of the ‘Fifty Shades’ trilogy.
A U.S. judge has ordered Hayward to pay more than $18.5 million in compensation, costs and interest to her former business partner in a long-running stoush over profits from the runaway erotic bestseller “Fifty Shades of Grey.”
Pedroza’s lawyer, Michael Farris, told The Fort Worth Star-Telegram his client was “very happy” with the outcome.
“She feels vindicated by the jury’s verdict and the judgment,” he said.
Hayward’s legal team has said she will appeal the judgment, questioning the nature of the pair’s business relationship, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.
“After having already attempted to convert Coffee Shop, and without disclosing that she had done so, Hayward told her partners that the partnership prospectively needed to be restructured into an entity solely owned by her for ‘tax reasons.'” She then fraudulently induced Pedroza and Beebe into signing “service agreements” with TWCS, and subsequently terminated both of them, the lawsuit ran.
More than 70 million copies of the “Fifty Shades of Grey” trilogy were sold in its debut year in 2012, Random House reported based on publishing industry sources. The number includes books, audio books and e-books in English, Spanish and German. The three books boosted Random House’s pretax earnings that year by 75 percent, according to the Christian Science Monitor.