'The Shack' Lawsuit Dismissed

The Shack, William P. Young

Author William P. Young’s contract dispute regarding his runaway best-seller, The Shack, has been settled out of court.

Court documents show that a jury trial was scheduled for late September in Ventura, Calif., but on Aug. 12 the case was dismissed without prejudice.

Young filed suit in November 2009 against Brad Cummings and Wayne Jacobsen. Windblown Media countersued for $5 million in federal court and made a claim over the authorship of the book. Cummings and Jacobsen collaborated with Young in writing what became a No. 1 New York Times best-selling novel and founded Windblown Media to publish it after it was rejected by multiple publishers. Cummings did not respond to queries for comment.

Hachette Book Group, which in 2008 began to distribute The Shack, also filed suit against Young and Windblown Media to determine where royalties should be paid and to protect itself from future lawsuits. In the wake of the dismissal, Hachette’s statement to Christian Retailing on the case was: “We’re very pleased that the parties have resolved their differences and we can move forward.”

Nichole Daiger, communications/public relations specialist for Los Angeles law firm Loeb & Loeb—which employs Young’s attorney, Michael Anderson—confirmed that the case was settled, but said that “the terms are confidential, so unfortunately we are not able to provide any comment or details.”

The suits filed concerned more than $8 million in royalties. Young’s contract had promised him 50 cents per paperback sale and $1 per hardcover sale, and a third of net profits.

“After we did an accounting, we recognized that he wasn’t getting paid anywhere near what he should,” Anderson told Christian Retailing in 2010.

Jacobsen said earlier that God was not “for us or against our brother Paul [Young]. He is for a resolution steeped in the very things we wrote about together—love, grace, truth, forgiveness and laying down our lives for each other. I’m sure Jesus yearns for a full reconciliation, but lacking that, would at least appreciate it if we could find a gracious resolution and a peaceful parting.”

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