Baker, Ahles & Kaskovich

Judgment delayed in ‘Fifty Shades’ legal drama

State District Judge Susan McCoy ordered Amanda Hayward to deposit $10 million in a court account for a judgment in a dispute with an Arlington woman over royalties on Fifty Shades of Grey.
State District Judge Susan McCoy ordered Amanda Hayward to deposit $10 million in a court account for a judgment in a dispute with an Arlington woman over royalties on Fifty Shades of Grey. AP

Call it Fifty Shades of Appeal.

Earlier this month, state District Judge Susan McCoy signed an order saying that Amanda Hayward, the Australian woman embroiled in a dispute with an Arlington woman over royalties stemming from the erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey, had to deposit $10 million in a court-controlled account by Friday.

But her attorneys won a reprieve from the Second Court of Appeals in Fort Worth after raising legal issues surrounding the order. The appeals court granted a stay of McCoy’s order. Among the arguments made by Hayward’s attorneys is that it was unreasonable for the court to demand that such a large amount of money be deposited only 10 days after signing the order.

While McCoy has continually avoided saying that the $10 million deposit must be in cash, Hayward’s attorney David Keltner stated in court papers that she would have to liquidate assets to do so. If Hayward eventually wins on appeal, the damage would already have been done.

The appeals court said that there might be some issues with McCoy’s order and requested the attorneys on both sides to file responses by early October.

Michael Farris, the attorney representing Jennifer Pedroza of Arlington, Hayward’s onetime partner in an online company that first released the eventual New York Times bestseller and the person who brought the lawsuit, was not surprised that Hayward’s lawyers went to the appeals court. Farris has raised numerous questions about what happened to the $40 million-plus that the book eventually earned. Pedroza says Hayward cheated her out of her share of the money.

Farris said Hayward shouldn’t be so surprised about coming up with the money since McCoy initially ordered it set aside in early August and has reaffirmed that order twice since then.

Asked if all the legal maneuvering would lead to a settlement, Farris said some settlement talks have occurred, but nothing significant. — Max B. Baker

Bell takes delivery of new tilt-rotor fuselage

In a ceremony in Wichita, Kan., Fort Worth-based Bell Helicopter took possession of the first fuselage built for a new tilt-rotor aircraft that will compete for a military contract.

The fuselage for the V-280 Valor was designed and built by Spirit AeroSystems, which primarily builds fuselages for commercial airplanes such as the Boeing 737. (Spirit’s CEO, by the way, is Larry Lawson, a former top executive at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics who left amid a management shakeup two years ago.)

Bell said the fuselage would be transported to its Amarillo plant, where the V-280 demonstrator model will be assembled. The first flight is expected in September 2017. Like its larger predecessor, the V-22 Osprey, the V-280 will be able to take off like a helicopter and fly like an airplane.

According to the Wichita Eagle newspaper, Bell CEO John Garrison praised Spirit and its employees at the Sept. 22 event. It marks the first time Bell and Spirit have collaborated on an aircraft.

“You all know how to make an aircraft and make it affordable,” Garrison said. “We need that. … We hit the price point [and] it’s game, set, match. The competition doesn’t have a chance. So that’s what we’re focused on, and you’ve helped us.”

The V-280, being developed with Lockheed Martin, is competing against a team from Boeing and Sikorsky to develop a new helicopter for the Army to replace the Black Hawk. Garrison recently told Bloomberg News that there may be a commercial market for the new tilt-rotor aircraft as well.

Two UTA programs get better grades

The College of Engineering and the College of Business at the University of Texas at Arlington saw their rankings go up in the annual U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges list.

The engineering school ranked No. 98 on the 2016 list of 165 ranked undergraduate programs, up from 100 the previous year. The business school also jumped to 131st among the 472 undergraduate programs accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

The rankings are based on recommendations of deans and senior faculty members nationwide.

“The continued steady climb of both the College of Business and the College of Engineering are testament to the high caliber of our outstanding faculty and students, innovative curricula and focus on excellence,” said UTA President Vistasp M. Karbhari in a prepared statement. — Max B. Baker

Alliance Opportunity Center moves

The Alliance Opportunity Center, the employment facility for companies in the AllianceTexas development, has moved to 2421 Westport Parkway.

The center opened in 1998 and has helped 21,000 job-seekers find positions at Alliance-based companies. This year, about 1,900 individuals have been helped.

The Alliance Opportunity Center has received the Business Results Award from the Texas Workforce Commission and the Workforce Award of Excellence from the National Association of Counties.

Andrea Ahles: 817-390-7631, @Sky_Talk

Sandra Baker: 817-390-7727, @SandraBakerFWST

Steve Kaskovich: 817-390-7773, @stevekasko

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