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Dodge v. Author Solutions, LLC

United States District Court, N.D. California, San Francisco Division

August 11, 2014

AUTHOR SOLUTIONS, LLC, doing business as AUTHOR HOUSE, Defendant.


LAUREL BEELER, Magistrate Judge.


Plaintiff Gary Reginald Dodge sued Author Solutions, LLC[1] ("Author Solutions") for its alleged misconduct in relation to the publication of his book, entitled Acts of War: Jesus/Alexander & JFK. See Complaint, ECF No. 1; First Amended Complaint ("FAC"), ECF No. 26; Second Amended Complaint ("SAC"), ECF No. 33.[2] The court previously dismissed the Complaint and the FAC for failure to state claims upon which relief can be granted. See ECF Nos. 24, 31. Author Solutions now moves to dismiss the SAC. See Motion to Dismiss SAC ("Motion"), ECF No. 34. Upon consideration of the Complaint, the briefs submitted, and the applicable legal authority, the court GRANTS Author Solutions' motion to dismiss with prejudice and without leave to amend.[3]



On February 3, 2014, Mr. Dodge filed a handwritten, four-page complaint against Author Solutions seeking, among other things, "double restitution" of $20 million (and up to $100 million if Author Solutions "contests[] and loses" this action) for a "theft of royalties" relating to the publication of Acts of War: Jesus/Alexander & JFK. See Complaint, ECF No. 1 at 1-4. The original complaint in its entirety is as follows:

"Acts of War: Jesus/Alexander & JFK" was written by me, Gary Reginald Dodge' in 2003. Since March[] 2004, Author [Solutions] has consistently committed a Theft of Royalties, ' and offering [sic] me only pennies in return for my work.
I, Gary Reginald Dodge, therefore demands [sic], and expects [sic], $10 million in damages for the ten years of stealing increasing sales of the book, "Acts of War: Jesus/Alexander & JFK." I further demand double restitution, ($20 million) because I did not make a ten-million-dollars [sic] loan to Author [Solutions], with an expectation of timely repayment. Author [Solutions], for ten years, committed a "Theft of Royalties" with no intention of paying an equitable payment to me, the author of the book; "Acts of War: Jesus/Alexander & JFK."
I further demand from Author [Solutions] that they cease and desist selling my book, and a return of the eight original copies of documents this writer found in the National Archives in the Lyndon B. Johnson Museum and Library at the University of Texas in Austin. I do further demand, and expect, if Author Solutions contest's [sic], and loses, 1 hundred million dollars ($100, 000, 000), which is the value of "Acts of War: Jesus/Alexander and JFK, " (if I was asked to participate in the promotion and marketing of my book), and for the 10 years of hardship, poverty and humiliation at the hands of my peers.

See Complaint, ECF No. 1 at 2-4. Attached to the complaint were copies of three checks: two for $0.72 each from Authorhouse and one for $150 from Rapid Publishing. Id.

Author Solutions moved to dismiss the complaint, ECF No. 16, and the court granted the motion to dismiss on April 10, 2014, ECF No. 24. The court construed the complaint as possibly asserting the following claims: (1) copyright infringement in violation of 17 U.S.C. ยง 501(a); (2) injunctive relief; (3) breach of contract; and (4) conversion. See Order, ECF No. 24 at 2.

The court dismissed the copyright infringement claim because it did not allege a plausible relationship between the damages sought and the plaintiff's actual damages or clearly allege facts in support of the claim. Id. at 5-6. The court dismissed the injunctive relief claim because it was a remedy, rather than a separate cause of action. Id. at 6. The court dismissed the possible breach of contract and conversion claims because the complaint did not allege facts showing a contractual relationship, breach, or how precisely Mr. Dodge was damaged. Id. at 7. Also, the statute of limitations would bar any claims that accrued more than three years before Mr. Dodge filed the complaint and there were no allegations to support equitable tolling or excusable delay. Id. The court dismissed the complaint with leave to amend within 28 days. Id.

On April 23, 2014, Mr. Dodge filed the FAC. See FAC, ECF No. 26. Like the original complaint, the FAC did not specify the claims or state allegations that explain the bases for Mr. Dodge's alleged damages. See generally id.

In the FAC, Mr. Dodge alleged the following:

In my ten years of experience with Authorhouse, I have reached the conclusion that it is a criminal organization, and part of a much larger criminal organization which, in a perfect world, would be prosecuted under the RICO Act, for they, in their own words have, "helped 20, 000 authors self publish their books, " while hundreds of whom have protested on the Internet, or at least those that have the wherewithall.

FAC, ECF No. 26 at 1-2.

The FAC alleged that Author Solutions falsely claimed to have stopped selling Mr. Dodge's book. Id. at 2. Several factual allegations appeared relevant to this claim. First, in February 2010, an Author Solutions representative told Mr. Dodge that he had sold 19 books in October. Id. at 3. She then changed her story and said he had not sold any books in the fourth quarter and her prior statement was based on a computer glitch. Id. Another representative said that Mr. Dodge "only had a one-percent royalty payment pending." Id. Second, in 2009, a friend from Pittsburgh told Mr. Dodge, "Pittsburgh is going crazy over your book!" and Mr. Dodge does not believe this to be an anomaly. Id. at 2. Third, Stanford University Library acquired a copy of Mr. Dodge's book. Id. Fourth, a ...

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