Mary Higgins Clark Sued by Playwright

Posted on February 22, 2006

Lloyd Grove reports on the latest bestselling author to get hit with a copyright infringement suit, but this one really sounds fishy to us. Dalia Gal, an Israeli screenwriter whose work is virtually unknown in the U.S. is now claiming that Mary Higgins Clark stole the storyline for her book, The Second Time Around, from one of Ms. Gal's screenplays.

Dalia Gal claims in a lawsuit that Clark's book, "The Second Time Around," recycled the plot, key scenes and characters, and even character names from Gal's screenplay about intrigue in the drug industry.

Gal's 2000 screenplay, "Immortalin," was widely circulated in Hollywood, the suit says. Clark's 2003 novel was a hardcover and paperback best seller for Simon & Schuster.

"The substantial similarities between the infringing work and Gal's screenplay are remarkable and can only be explained as a deliberate copying," the lawsuit charges, adding that both works spotlight "a single female journalist's investigation of an elaborate conspiracy plot between two rival pharmaceutical companies to create a miracle drug, [and] a scientist working on the miracle drug [who] disappears," while the scientist's "wife is having a secret relationship with the head of the rival pharmaceutical corporation, and plays a role in the conspiracy against her husband." Recently a federal judge refused to dismiss the suit.

"Before this lawsuit was filed, I had never heard of Ms. Gal and certainly never saw her screenplay," Clark told Lowdown. "Her allegations are blatant nonsense and patently untrue." Simon & Schuster's Adam Rothberg said: "We fully support our author."

Mary Higgins Clark is simply not the kind of person who would steal someone's ideas, in our opinion. She's a very prolific, hard-working author who has more ideas than she knows what to do with. You can read our interview with Mary Higgins Clark here. Her life story is quite inspiring, as is her work ethic.

Simon & Schuster is standing by Clark. Adam Rothberg, Senior Vice President for Simon & Schuster said, "We fully support our author."


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