On appeal is a decision made by the Westside Creativity Board that granted a motion to dismiss brought by the defendant, claiming that the plaintiff brought a frivolous complaint against the defendant for slander, intentional infliction of emotional distress and breach of contract.
The parties are partners and have worked together successfully through grade school and undergraduate college writing academically and creatively. They have successfully completed many challenging projects without assigning blame for the frustrations that come with work in progress. Recently, the parties attempted to write a short story for their niece’s 6th birthday. The story was simple, it involved the tribulations of a baby bear who liked to pull one of her father’s socks on to her leg and hobble around on an old pair of crutches that she found in the attic. The defendant refused to finish working on the story and belittled the plaintiff for her lack of originality and overly moral plot. The plaintiff asks the court to direct the defendant to apologize to the plaintiff and to finish the story with her.
First, the administrative board clearly erred in finding that the plaintiff’s complaints were frivolous. The parties have worked together in the past and have an interest in working together in the future. The plaintiff’s claims should be heard as well as the defendant’s criticism against the plaintiff so that both parties may continue working together in a productive relationship.
The defendant does not contest her words or conduct towards the plaintiff. She has made several counterclaims against the plaintiff. Defendant blames the plaintiff for not having enough time, not having enough energy when she does have time, not being a writer, not being creative, not having an original idea and she also has said that the story sounded too moral.
The plaintiff claims that there was time and energy during her winter break and that the defendant did not make time in order to get some writing done. Whether or not there will ever be enough time or energy seems irrelevant when we consider that the defendant did not attempt to sit with the plaintiff and finish the story over break.
The next issue is whether the defendant is a creative. The plaintiff cites to old authority in this area, “And your doubt can become a good quality if you train it. It must become knowing, it must become criticism. Ask it, whenever it wants to spoil something for you, why something is ugly, demand proofs from it, test it, and you will find it perhaps bewildered and embarrassed, perhaps also protesting. But don’t give in. Insist on arguments, and act in this way, attentive and persistent, every single time, and the day will come when, instead of merely a destroyer, it will become one of your best workers—perhaps the most intelligent of all the ones that are building your life.” In order to be a writer, the plaintiff insists, defendant must return to writing before making any conclusive statements about what plaintiff is or is not. Here, it is clear that the defendant needs to continue writing in order to determine whether or not she is a writer before making a judgment that would not be based on any factual evidence of “not being a writer.” The defendant’s counterclaims are dismissed and she should not bring another similar complaint until she has a finished product to present to the court as evidence of poor writing.
Next defendant insists that the Baby Bear story is too moral and superficial. As the court has stated already, it is unreasonable to judge a story before it is finished. The judgment follows the trial: during the trial process stories are told, not started, not half-told, but the entire story, from beginning to end must be told before the bench makes a judgment about whether a story is too moral or superficial.
We hold that it is only reasonable for the defendant to finish her story according to the terms of the plaintiff until the story has ended. Only then can the defendant even begin to object, criticize and possibly modify or change plaintiff’s story, but only if it could be determined by a reasonable person that they are too moral or superficial or need any other kind of amending, then the defendant may object to the plaintiff’s endeavors, and bring her case before the bench.
The court orders an injunction for the defendant to stop harrassing the plaintiff’s efforts and to cooperate with her in her writing until the story is finished. When the story has finished, the defendant may then voice her objections if they are respectful and not belittling. It is so ordered.