Judge rules on Motion for Judgement in Peter S. Beagle vs. Cochran case
As previously covered, furry author Peter S. Beagle has been in the throes of the American court system for nearly two years now, fighting his former publishing agent Connor Cochran for damages and restitution for 15 causes of action including fraud, defamation, and elder abuse. I won't rehash all the details, but Cochran's history of sharp practice is long and appalling. Mr. Beagle deserves an end to these proceedings as quickly as due diligence will allow, but Cochran would rather drag things out in a war of attrition.
One example of the Conlan Press founder's meandering through convoluted legal roadblocks was his filing of a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings, on the basis there were no issues of fact to support the allegations in not just one, or a few, but in all 15 causes of action. Initially given a tentative ruling on October 24, this was contested by Cochran. After arguing the matter, the tentative ruling was affirmed. The result? All but one of Mr. Beagle's causes of action were sustained.
The judgement describes Cochran's motion as "frivolous", going on to quote another California case to say:
Subjective bad faith may be inferred by evidence that appellants intended to cause unnecessary delay, filed the action to harass respondents, or harbored an improper motive. The timing of the action may raise an inference of bad faith.
So what was done away with? It's clear the court wasn't fooled by Cochran's shenanigans, but judgement was granted in one of the causes of action: physical elder abuse. Let's talk about why.
As I covered in the last story, after Beagle finally cut the circus that was the Last Unicorn film tour, Cochran promised disappointed fans they'd receive unique post cards, signed individually by Beagle, staking the author's professional reputation without consulting him. As such, Beagle was forced to sign 5,000 such cards in a short time, causing great physical pain and emotional distress. This was the basis for the physical elder abuse suit.
But, according to the law, physical abuse requires "unreasonable physical constraint". Therefore, it was ruled, the harm to Beagle caused by the threat to his income was not physical abuse, but physical effects resulting from financial abuse, another cause against Cochran, which was sustained in this motion.
All this, coming after Cochran's countersuit was thrown out--with prejudice, makes it clear things are looking up for Mr. Beagle. He's even published three books since this lawsuit began with his new publisher, Tachyon Publications. But the case isn't over yet, and those rooting for Mr. Beagle should keep a keen eye for more tricks by Cochran.