“The Help” Lawsuit Update, or, The Recovering Attorney is all about Responsible Blogging!

In the interest of good, responsible blogging, I am compelled to amend, update and offer new insight concerning the lawsuit against The Help author, Kathryn Stockett.

As I editorialized in The Recovering Attorney’s Un-Blog(tm)’s post of yesterday, I presented the claims of Ablene Cooper, the 60-year-old Jackson, Mississippi maid who filed a “paltry” $75,000 lawsuit against Kathryn Stockett, alleging that Stockett made an unpermitted use of Ms. Cooper’s name, image and intimate details of Ms. Cooper’s life story when writing her popular best-selling book.  The book is about Black southern maids working in White households in 1960s Jackson, Mississippi.


1.  Why the “paltry” $75,000 request for damages?  It appears as if Ms. Cooper’s lawyer, Edward Sanders, wanted to keep the suit out of federal court—$75,000 is the jurisdictional limit.  A request of damages greater than $75,000 would have allow Ms. Stockett to move the suit to federal court.  Keeping the case in the Hinds County (Mississippi) Circuit Court will probably allow for a more sympathetic jury and judge.  I understand the lawyer’s strategy.  Though some may argue that asking for more in damages might have compelled Ms. Stockett to settle out of court fearing a large jury award.

2. Robert Stockett, the brother of Kathryn Stockett is supporting Ms. Cooper in her lawsuit against his sister.  As a result of this support, the siblings are no longer incommunicado.  Interesting dynamic.

3.   The case is indeed proceeding—an August 16, 2011 hearing is on the docket in Hinds County to determine if Ms. Cooper has presented a prima facie case against Ms. Stockett.  In an earlier preceeding, Ms. Stockett requested that the case be dismissed for lack of merit and she argued in the alternative that the case be dismissed due to the passing of the 1 year statute of limitations.

4.  Oh, and the “fictional” Aibileen Clark like Ms. Ablene Cooper, has a gold tooth and both go by the nickname of Aibee.

The Recovering Attorney note:  Ms. Cooper’s allegations are just that, allegations.  Kathryn Stockett et.al. deny all legal claims against the book and subsequent movie.  Furthermore, The Recovering Attorney’s $0.02 is just a mere opinion.  The Recovering Attorney is not “acting” in the capacity of a lawyer.

COPYRIGHT 2011.  The Recovering Attorney Un-Blog(tm).  All Rights Reserved.  And I will sue.  Ha!

One Response to ““The Help” Lawsuit Update, or, The Recovering Attorney is all about Responsible Blogging!”

  1. This is an interesting case. I am happy to hear it from somebody else’s perspective.

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