CHRON by Matt Levin Updated 2:21 pm, Monday, February 1, 2016
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An Arlington elementary school teacher will receive $11.5 million from the publisher of “Fifty Shades of Grey” as the result of a royalty dispute.
A Texas court ruled in the favor of Jennifer Pedroza, determining the fourth grade teacher was “defrauded of her share of royalties,” according to the Guardian. Pedroza filed the suit in May 2014 against her former publishing partner Amanda Hayward. The pair started up an e-publishing partnership called The Writer’s Coffee Shop in 2009. In October 2010, they published a salacious book by author E.L. James called “Fifty Shades of Grey.”
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The book’s racy premise turned the story into a word-of-mouth hit. Major publisher Random House bought the rights to the erotic novel in 2012. The “Fifty Shades” series became a best seller and later a hit movie (with more in the works).
However, the lawsuit alleged that through legal wrangling, Hayward cut Pedroza out of the multi-million dollar partnership. Here’s the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on the case:
In 2012, Random House made a deal with Hayward and James to publish the books. Pedroza received a one-time payment of $100,000 after the Random House contract was signed, but she was never told of the full terms of the transaction. Random House was not named in the lawsuit.
While Pedroza’s lawsuit acknowledged that she and Hayward never signed a prepared partnership agreement – but Pedroza said in the suit she was due 25 percent of the net profits – it showed that in 2011 their business filed a partnership income tax return naming Pedroza as a general partner.
A Tarrant County District Judge ordered the lucrative royalties payment after a jury ruled in Pedroza’s favor. Hayward’s attorneys plan to appeal the case.