Update on the Harper Lee Lawsuit

TKaMB 123Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird, and literary agent Samuel L. Pinkus have reached an agreement in principle to resolve Ms. Lee’s lawsuit against Mr. Pinkus. At the moment, the terms of the settlement are undisclosed, and it’s common for such terms to remain confidential.

I discussed this lawsuit in a previous post, When Our Literary Heroes Become Victims, in which I said that “the complaint is a difficult set of allegations to untangle.” Ms. Lee alleged that Pinkus, the son-in-law of her former agent Eugene Winick, breached his fiduciary duties (by failing to be truthful, self-dealing, and failing to ‘work’ the copyright to maximize royalties) and manipulated Ms. Lee into assigning away the copyright to her classic novel. It was particularly sad to read about her failing health, which Lee alleges Pinkus exploited for his personal gain.

To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my favorite books, which I revisited recently as part of Roof Beam Reader’s Read-along (the three images above show what my copy of the novel looked like at the end of the read-along). I love the novel as much now as I did when I first read it, but my reasons for loving it have changed in light of my life experiences. I reflected on this novel in three posts over the summer:

If you haven’t read To Kill a Mockingbird or if you haven’t read it since you were a child, I highly recommend that you add it to your reading list.


  1. Such a wonderful book. I think the last time I re-read it was in law school… must dust it off and read through again. I’m glad to hear that Harper Lee has settled her lawsuit, and I hope that the settlement was fair to her. It’s always sad to hear of an older person’s resources being poorly handled (if her allegations are true – I suppose we can’t really know for sure, but she’s Harper Lee, so I’m disposed to believe her) and sadder when it’s one of your literary heroes, as you said in your last post.

    1. I would love to hear your thoughts on To Kill a Mockingbird if you decide to read it again! I hope the settlement was fair to Harper Lee, too. That lawsuit just made me feel so sad.

    1. I hope you do! I enjoyed re-reading To Kill a Mockingbird. Have your children read it? If it becomes assigned reading for them or they choose to pick it up on their own, that might be a good time for you to revisit it. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Is it likely the terms will never be made public? It seems you would be really interested to know the outcome. It would be a shame that there was exploitation and gain from her ailing health. People can be so greedy.

    1. I would be very interested to know what the terms are! Many settlements have confidentiality and non-disparagement clauses. Plus, Harper Lee is a private person who isn’t likely to talk about it. So, I’d be surprised if we ever hear of the lawsuit again.

    1. It’s an ideal book for early teenagers, and it’s definitely worth re-reading later in life. Unlike most of the books I read as a child, it really holds up over time.

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