Date: Thu, 22 Sep 1994 07:41:29 -0400 (EDT)
From: joan r saks berman
A few comments on the text below: What is an "underground" best-seller?
Being published by a mainstream company and selling 800,000 copies?
Also, not that it is only *some* mental health professionals who have
criticized these books as noted in the article.
Joan R. Saks Berman, Ph.D. email@example.com
PHS Indian Hospital (505) 256-4083
801 Vassar Drive NE FAX (505) 256-4088
Albuquerque, NM 87106
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Date: Wed, 21 Sep 1994 23:49:59 -0500 (EST)
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From: Ken Pope <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: bass & davis book/suit
Feel free to post this if you think it is relevant. The most recent
posting I received contained a message from Dr. Berman about the fund
for defending Ellen Bass who is being sued on behalf of the book.
Here are 2 brief newspaper articles (one from the San Francisco
Chronicle, the other from the Sacramento Bee) describing the progress
of these 2 cases. In one, the judge threw out the charges involving
the book; in the other, the charges are still pending.
I thought members of your list, particularly those involved in the
debate over recovered memories, might be interested in how these
cases (which have a rather chilling effect and which DO cost money
to defend) are progressing.
SELF-HELP AUTHORS FREED FROM LIABILITY;
SUIT INVOLVING INCEST CLAIMS CONTINUES
San Francisco Chronicle (SF) - TUESDAY, September 6, 1994
By: Katy Butler, Chronicle Staff Writer
Edition: FINAL Section: News Page: A16
Word Count: 417
A Sacramento Superior Court judge has dismissed a portion of a
lawsuit involving the authors of ``The Courage to Heal,'' a popular
"self-help" text for incest survivors.
The suit, brought by Deborah David, her husband and her parents,
accused several therapists and the book authors with creating
psychological problems and leading David to confront her father
and keep him from seeing his grandchildren.
The suit, which asks for more than $4 million in damages, will
continue against the therapists but not the authors.
According to attorney Neil Shapiro, who represented authors Laura
Davis and Ellen Bass of Santa Cruz, the portion of the suit against
the writers was dismissed Friday because of constitutional
protections of free speech. Previous court rulings have held that
book authors cannot be liable for damages caused by their ideas.
According to David's suit, ``The Courage to Heal'' and ``The Courage
to Heal Workbook'' were suggested to her by therapists who tried to
convince her that she had been sexually abused. David could not be
reached for comment yesterday.
Shapiro said yesterday that statements in the books ``are not like
chemical equations that are right or wrong. These are ideas, and
you can't have a liability for ideas.''
The book was published by HarperCollins in 1988 and became an
underground best-seller, with more than 800,000 copies sold. A
thick compendium of advice about therapy, healing, self-care,
family confrontation, sexuality and relationships, it incorporates
the poetry and stories of more than 100 women who told the authors
they had been sexually abused as children.
It has been criticized widely by parents who say they have been falsely
accused by their children and by some women who have since withdrawn such
accusations. One sentence in the book suggests that people who think they
were abused probably were, even if they have no specific memories, and
other portions suggest ways that women can help themselves remember more.
A lawsuit similar to the one dismissed in Sacramento is pending in San
Luis Obispo County.
Laura Davis, one of the authors, said yesterday that she felt ``great''
about the ruling.
``Our book has had a big effect on incest survivors coming forward and
talking about their experiences,'' she said. ``That has been very
threatening to people. I see the lawsuit as part of an ongoing
backlash against survivors of sexual abuse.
``I'm glad that it was squashed quickly. If it hadn't (been), it would
have been a nightmare for any author in a free society.''
Copyright 1994 The San Francisco Chronicle
AUTHOR TARGET OF FALSE-MEMORIES LAWSUIT
Sacramento Bee (SB) - WEDNESDAY, May 4, 1994
By: Associated Press
Edition: STATE FINAL Section: SUPCAL Page: B3
Word Count: 299
SAN LUIS OBISPO - A woman has sued the author of a popular advice
book, claiming it was partly to blame for conjuring up false memories
of sexual abuse and Satanic rituals.
In a lawsuit filed in San Luis Obispo County Superior Court, Kimberly
Mark accuses Laura Davis of negligence and misrepresentation for the
views she expressed in ''The Courage to Heal Workbook.''
Mark claimed the book's advice was partly to blame for false childhood
memories she conjured up during hypnotherapy sessions. The memories
included satanic rituals and sexual abuse by several people, including
''This is the first time that I know of that this kind of (suit) has
happened,'' said Elizabeth Loftus, a University of Washington psychology
and law professor who doubts the reality of memories that emerge in
adulthood after extensive therapy.
The lawsuit, which was filed last week, could have trouble getting
around First Amendment guarantees of free published expression, said
an attorney who specializes in constitutional law.
Courts must generally find a direct cause-and-effect relationship
before holding someone liable for damages, said Los Angeles attorney
Neither Davis nor her agent immediately returned calls seeking comment.
The workbook is a companion and sequel to the best-selling ''The
Courage to Heal,'' co-written with Ellen Bass. Both books have been
criticized by mental health professionals who say claims of repressed
childhood sexual abuse are often exaggerated.
The first book has sold about 800,000 copies nationwide. Patrick
Clancy, a Walnut Creek lawyer representing Kimberly and husband
William Mark, said Davis holds herself out as qualified to help
readers heal psychologically from the effects of childhood sexual
Kimberly Mark's father is dead, Clancy said. Her "memories" changed
after she read a magazine article last year questioning hypnotherapists'
ability to bring back forgotten events, he said.