Today our clients David Knox and Caroline Schacht entered into an agreement with Cengage Learning, the publisher of their textbooks including Choices in Relationships, to resolve their claims in litigation. The complaint, found here, has been dismissed.
As set forth in the complaint, Knox and Schacht asserted claims based on (i) the allocation of value to Cengage's electronic supplements rather than to the authors' work for purposes of calculating royalties; (ii) Cengage's inclusion of Choices in Relationships and other Knox and Schacht texts in Cengage's new all-access electronic subscription database, Cengage Unlimited; and (iii) Knox and Schacht's desire to obtain information necessary to audit their royalty statements and understand how royalty payments would be made in the new subscription model.
Knox and Schacht's claims were not unique. Many other authors had similar concerns. Accordingly, the Knox and Schacht lawsuit contained class allegations, so they could pursue the claims not only on their own behalf, but on behalf of other similarly situated Cengage authors.
Sometimes class action litigation settles quickly -- before the court can consider the legal issues presented. This often happens when terms can be negotiated that are acceptable both to the individual plaintiffs, who have stepped forward and offered to represent a class, and to the defendant. That is what happened here. Today we amicably settled the lawsuit on behalf of Professors Knox and Schacht, before a single document was exchanged in discovery, and on terms that are public -- except for the amount of the payment made by Cengage to the two plaintiffs. The settlement does not affect the rights of any authors other than Knox and Schacht.
We are proud to have worked with Professors Knox and Schacht, to have achieved their objectives, and to have resolved the litigation quickly with Cengage, on terms that were acceptable to both parties.