I wrote a total of five feature articles for a new business magazine, which apparently went under before its launch. My contract said I would be paid 45 days after my final invoice (I believe that was May 2nd). 90% of my emails have been ignored, and I have never received a real explanation (although I'm pretty certain funding was withdrawn, something like that). The magazine never came out, and because it was a summer launch, the topics of the articles were timely and have now expired.
After weeks and weeks of being brushed aside, I send the publisher a version of this letter
. Then he tried to put me on a guilt trip for threatening his "tiny little publishing company".
He's also said "We have not published your work or benefited from it in anyway and you have retained your IPR's to the fullest extent." Even if that were so, the summer's long over, and my articles are worthless. The letter I sent gave him ten days to pay or I would have to take legal action. Well, it's been two months. I've printed out the small claims documents and am ready to mail. The reason I hesitated: he sent me an email about three weeks ago claiming he put together a packet for all outstanding vendors, and I should receive it swiftly. Well, it never came. And what could it possibly say, anyway?
My questions for you: Will I win this case, even though it's true, he didn't benefit from my articles? The contract doesn't say payment upon publication--it says payment upon final invoice. Has anyone else had experience suing a deadbeat publisher/employer? I know that even if I win, I might not get paid for ages. But this is a lot of money to me (we're talking several thousand), and I also want to do win this on principle alone. He's been terrible to deal with. I have immaculate copies (hooray gmail!) of all our correspondence--though most of it during the happy writing days in April was through a middleman, the editor (also a bastard), who had severed himself from the company.
I hate this.