Peter S. Beagle awarded $332,500 judgement in lawsuit against ex-manager
Peter S. Beagle, known for writing the classic fantasy novel The Last Unicorn, has finally been awarded $332,500 in a lawsuit against Connor Cochran. His lyrical language would need barbs for revisiting his career with Cochran, his ex-agent/publisher/business manager -- or whatever title was most profitable for the moment.
In the early 2000's, Cochran pitched himself as a savior to rescue Beagle from past mismanagement. As time went on it became clear that the manager's relationship was more vulturous than a healthy partnership. Beagle sued him in 2015. Four ugly years later, the ex-manager had been given a new title by the author's friends: convicted fraudster.
File770 covered the judgement, and Deborah Grabien, Beagle's friend and editor, wrote about the document on Facebook:
Below is the judge's final decision in Peter's suit... It's a thing of beauty. Peter won, flat out, on four of six causes. On at least one of the two Peter wasn't awarded, the judicial language makes it pretty damned clear that the only reason for that was lack of proof that Cochran did what he did with the intent to actively harm. Spread it far and wide, if the fancy so takes you. There's no chance of the dude in question going off on one of his patented "I WILL SUUUUUUUUE YUUUUUUU!" screeches, because this is the judge's final decision in this case.
While the court battle was in progress, Equivamp wrote The full story of the lawsuit involving Peter S. Beagle, author of 'The Last Unicorn'. And there was an update about how Cochran misused the legal process with frivolous litigation to "drag things out in a war of attrition."
Time ran out for delaying judgement, and the final findings vindicate opinions by many fans including Neil Gaiman, a longtime friend of Beagle. Furry fans previously had Beagle as Guest of Honor at Anthrocon 2011 and Eurofurence 12 -- I was told by a scientifically-minded Anthrocon organizer that Beagle was delightful, but his manager seemed "covered in a thin layer of oil." Other fans are celebrating the news on Beagle's official Facebook page, which posted that the court called Cochran an "overly-aggressive hustler and pitch-man", who speaks and writes "with a flair for the dramatic that is at best loosely based in truth."
After the court ruled, I had dinner with Beagle and thanked his lawyer for keeping up the good fight. And in a personal matter, I took a $32,000 judgement against Cochran's bankrupt company. There's more action to come for Beagle in pursuit of what he's owed in bankruptcy court.
For an introduction to Beagle's work beyond the obvious, die-hard fans may point to his first novel, A Fine and Private Place, an urban ghost-romance-fantasy written when he was just 19. He has claimed to be "a lifelong furry (sans the body suit)", and claimed the classic novel The Wind in the Willows as the one book that "turned me toward fantasy" (more at Wikifur). Beagle has been busy with new writing and convention appearances and will be at Dublin Worldcon on August 16-18.