Proving that there’s just one kind of folks—folks who screw you over at the first opportunity—author Harper Lee has been forced to step out of reclusion to sue her literary agent, Samuel Pinkus, after he allegedly swindled her out of the copyright to To Kill A Mockingbird. As Lee once wrote, “People generally see what they look for and hear what they listen for,” and this is even more difficult when you’re 87 years old and your agent is taking advantage of your declining eyesight and hearing, as Lee’s lawsuit says Pinkus did, when he had her sign over the copyright to her Pulitzer-winning 1960 novel to him without payment. Pinkus’ “scheme to dupe” Lee is said to have taken place in 2007, after Lee’s longtime agent (and Pinkus’ father-in-law) grew ill and Pinkus began siphoning away some of his clients.
Even worse, Pinkus allegedly came to Lee after she’d suffered a stroke and was in a confused state, getting her to sign an agreement granting his company all the rights to her novel and its attendant royalties, then ignoring all Lee’s requests thereafter. Lee is asking that the copyright be turned over to her in a lawsuit that could eventually make its way into court, where it could fall to some Atticus Finch-like lawyer to give the impassioned plea for justice. After all, courage is knowing you’re licked before you began but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what, because your agent sounds like a scumbag.