Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Judge Awards $7,500 in Magazine Lawsuit

Tue, Mar 20, 2007 at 4:53 PM

If you've followed the saga of former Black Diamond Living editor Wanda Hennig's complaint against her former employer, Alfred Igbodipe, you've got the idea that Hennig doesn't believe Igbodipe treated his writers and editors fairly. A small-claims-court judge apparently agreed, awarding Hennig $7,500 - the maximum amount allowed in small-claims court.

The story reads a bit like a "Hello, I am Nigerian royalty" e-mail scam. Hennig took over as editor of the East Contra Costa County lifestyle magazine in 2005, and wrote in the complaint that she worked long hours on the promise she'd receive a partnership in the business. When Igbodipe asked her to design a magazine for Nigerian audiences, she and design editor Debbi Murzyn worked extra hours to build a prototype.

Then, last October, Igbodipe suddenly yanked the plug on the magazine and its editors.

Hennig's case asked for $3,000 in termination pay for her work, $3,500 for her work on the Nigerian magazine, and another $1,000 for termination pay that Igbodipe promised her in an e-mail. The judge awarded the full amount, plus $125 in expenses.

In an e-mail sent Friday, Hennig said she thought Igbodipe would appeal the decision. "I plan to go and demonstrate with a placard in Antioch or Pittsburg," she wrote, "as I know he will do anything not to pay!!!"

Full disclosure: Igbodipe didn't pay kill fees to writers who worked on the never-published January 2007 issue. I wasn't involved, but man, that sucks.

Previous Express blog coverage of Black Diamond Living magazine is here. --Eric Simons

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