Natural health expert and author Jordan Rubin has recovered $55,000 from Strang Communications in a dispute that revealed the faith-based publisher improperly withheld royalties payments for three years from the paperback edition of his New York Times bestseller The Maker's Diet. Rubin said he was forced to file an arbitration claim after numerous requests and attempts to settle the matter were ignored.
"I wanted to believe this was an honest mistake," said Rubin. "But Strang's refusal to acknowledge our requests to review royalty statements eventually left me with no other remedy except to take legal action."
Rubin said he first notified his literary agent, Tom Winters, to review statements from Strang in March 2009 because he believed the publisher had failed to pay him royalties he was owed. Winters said he was perplexed when Strang repeatedly failed to produce the statements and recommended that Rubin should consult an attorney. Rubin retained Sean Ellsworth and Nick Bravin of Ellsworth Law Firm, P.A. in Miami, who filed an arbitration claim on June 3, 2009.
According to Ellsworth, Strang claimed that Rubin was not entitled to review royalty statements. However, after more than six months when arbitrators were preparing to finalize procedures and deadlines that would apply to the case, Strang produced royalty statements and acknowledged it had underpaid Rubin $36,620.91. In addition, the statements proved that Strang improperly withheld some royalty payments for nearly three years, which resulted in Strang's agreement to pay interest on royalties owed and Rubin's attorney's fees, pushing the total to over $55,000.
"When I signed my initial literary contract, I trusted my publisher to honor the agreement they put forth," said Rubin. "I was very disappointed to discover that earned royalties were withheld for up to three years, but I am pleased that justice has prevailed."
Rubin has authored more than 20 health titles and is the founder of Garden of Life, a leading whole foods nutritional supplements company. Strang Communications is a multimedia corporation founded by Stephen Strang in 1975 which includes its publishing division, Strang Book Group, with eight imprints including Charisma House, Siloam and Casa Creacion. Strang also publishes the magazines Christian Life, Ministry Today and Christian Retailing.
Ellsworth added, "We are pleased we could recover what was owed to Jordan Rubin. It's just unfortunate that it took so much legal wrangling to in order for the publisher to do the right thing."