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Mississippi Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Filed By "The Help" Against Author Of "The Help"

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act August 16, 2011 at 12:47PM

I'm sure this will give some folks even more of a reason to despise her and her bestselling novel turned film.
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I'm sure this will give some folks even more of a reason to despise her and her bestselling novel turned film.

Recall when, much earlier this year, it was revealed that Ablene Cooper, the 60-year-old woman and long-time "help" of Kathryn Stockett’s brother and sister-in-law, had filed a lawsuit against Ms Stockett, claiming that one of the novel’s main characters, Aibileen Clark (the character Viola Davis plays in the film adaptation), was an unauthorized appropriation of her name and image by Stockett.

She sued for $75,000 in damages.

Given how much loot Stockett had already made (at the time) and stood to make from the film adaptation (which opened strong this past weekend), I figured that the lawsuit would be settled very quickly, out of court, with Stockett paying the $75,000, or some other agreed upon figure.

Well, that didn't happen, because, as soon after the lawsuit was announced, Stockett fired back saying, in short, that the character "Aibileen Clark" in The Help is a fictional character, and isn't intended to depict the real life Ablene Cooper.

So, it was clear that Ms Stockett was planning to fight the suit; and she's probably glad she made that decision, because it was announced earlier today that a judge tossed out the lawsuit filed against Kathryn Stockett in Mississippi.

Judge Tomie Green's reasons for doing so were because Ablene Cooper "failed to file the lawsuit within the 1-year statute of limitations, said the Jackson, Mississippi Clarion-Ledger.

Apparently, Ablene Cooper acknowledged that she did receive a copy of Stockett's novel in January 2009, a full month before it was published, so that she could read it, but she didn't read the book until a year later, which is around the time she filed her claim. The movie adaptation was already underway by then.

According to The Clarion-Ledger, after receiving the bad news, Ablene Cooper left the courthouse today, screaming, "She lied. She lied." (Photo of Clark above with her son, leaving courthouse).

I'm no attorney, so I have no idea what her next cause of action might be, assuming she's willing to continue pursuing it. Although, she does have representation.

This article is related to: FYI, Things That Make You Go Hmm...


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