Grisham headed back to court
One of Charlottesville's longest legal dramas got new life today when the Supreme Court of Virginia ruled that an Albemarle Circuit Court judge erroneously dismissed Katharine Almy's lawsuit against mega-selling author John Grisham and Alan and Donna Swanson, allowing Almy to go back to court to sue for intentional infliction of emotional distress more than six years after she first filed suit.
The story began in 1996 when Donna Swanson began getting anonymous letters designed to break up her marriage to St. Anne's-Belfield development director Alan Swanson. When Grisham received an anonymous letter in 1998, the three suspected Almy and provided samples of her handwriting, including a confidential St. Anne's application, to two experts, who determined that Almy could have written the letters.
Off the hook for intentional infliction of emotional distress in the Supreme Court decision are handwriting experts David Liebman and Cina Wong.
Grisham attorney Tom Albro declined to comment on the ruling.
Says Almy attorney Ben DiMuro, “In a story that could have come directly out of one of Mr. Grisham’s novels, Ms. Almy became the victim and wrongful target of a Barney Fife-style investigation instigated by Mr. Grisham and the Swansons that tarnished her reputation in the community while inflicting severe emotional distress. We look forward to bringing the case to trial, and are confident that a jury will agree that Mr. Grisham’s and the Swansons’ conduct was completely outrageous and they should be held accountable for their actions.”