ARLINGTON — An Arlington woman has filed suit in the 153rd District Court accusing her former business partner of cutting her out of a publishing deal worth millions of dollars in royalties from the novel "Fifty Shades of Grey."
That book is the guilty (and not-so-guilty) pleasure of readers across the world. "Fifty Shades of Grey" has spent more than 100 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller list, ranking high as recently as March 9.
Then came a musical parody, and now fans are salivating ahead of the release of its big screen adaptation next Valentine’s Day.
But there is a woman in Arlington for whom this is not fun... but frustrating. She is Jennifer Pedroza, and she has filed suit saying she’s owed money tied to the success of "Fifty Shades" author E.L. James.
Attorney Mike Farris of Dallas represents Pedroza, and says she was one of four women who founded The Writer’s Coffee Shop, the group that first published the novel in 2011.
"Most of the books they sold were e-books, but they also sold 10,000 to 20,000 print copies," Farris said.
Soon after, Random House called to buy the publishing rights to "Fifty Shades." Pedroza’s suit accuses one of her Coffee Shop co-founders of "fifty shades of greed" by secretly creating a separate business to broker that deal, cutting Pedroza out of millions in royalties.
The woman named in the suit is Amanda Heyward, who lives outside Syndey, Austrialia.
"She was able to get Random House to make all the payments, royalties and advances directly to her in Australia and bypass the partnership bank account in Texas," Farris said.
Pedroza's legal team says the original four-person partnership that helped launch the books never dissolved, so Pedroza is suing for her share, which would be millions of dollars.
"It may well at this point be royalties owing to the partnership or having paid to the partnership of $80 to $100 million, and we think Jenny’s entitled to 25 percent of that," Farris said.
As for Heyward, she did not respond to our attempts to reach her. She has told Australian media that when it comes to this suit, she has no comment.