DrSpock.Com Sued by Dr. Spock's Widow

Categories: Law & Order

Dr. Spock's book.jpg
The instruction manual for raising Baby Boomers has, inevitably, led to a lawsuit
​The widow of Dr. Benjamin Spock, the pediatrician who introduced the once novel idea of -- get this -- affection to the parents of the 1950s has a none too affectionate legal brief in San Francisco court. Mary Morgan this week sued a company for illegally representing and publishing the work of her late husband on the website, DrSpock.com.

Before Dr. Spock's death in 1998, he arranged that his estate and trust go to his wife, Morgan, with whom he'd authored several books. She had also helped manage his career and oversee the republications of his most famous work, the seminal 1946 tome Baby and Child Care -- making her an obvious choice to take on the continuation of his legacy. And that is no small task: His book ranks as one of the best-sellers of all time.

A year after Spock's death, Morgan entered into a business agreement with a company called DrSpock.com Inc., which planned to make a website showcasing his lauded child-rearing techniques. DSI offered Morgan considerable stocks in the corporation, and promised to give her yearly payments of $100,000 in monthly installments of $8,333. The agreement included a provision allowing Morgan to terminate the agreement -- and therefore receive back the rights to Spock's material -- if the company failed to honor the deal.

In the lawsuit, Morgan, who currently resides in Marin, claims that DSI stopped paying her in August 2009. In line with the contract's stipulation, she fired off a letter notifying them that the deal was off, and insisted they pay their outstanding bill -- which exceeded $84,000. The letter bounced back: DSI hadn't informed Morgan -- only the executor of the estate from which they profit -- that they'd changed their mailing address. When the letter eventually reached the company, according to legal papers, it responded that since Morgan orally rescinded her request, it refused to turn over the rights nor compensate her.

Morgan is claiming that she did no such thing, and suing DSI for fraudulence and refusal of payment. She is also requesting that DSI discontinue the use of Dr. Spock's work and reputation on their website, which remains in full operation.

Dr. Spock, incidentally, was no fan of spanking children. Spanking an allegedly fraudulent company, however, appears to be hunky-dory.

H/T | Courthouse News

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