Legal History

The Ongoing Legal Dispute over More Than Two


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Image: Elena Mozhvilo

IMPORTANT:
Were you contacted by a woman named Louisa Leontiades, calling herself a journalist and saying she wanted information about me? My attorney would very much like to speak to you. If this happened to you, please contact me directly. Thank you so much!

Welcome! If you're reading this, you're probably aware that my ex and former co-author has engaged in numerous legal maneuvers that threaten this site since I left my romantic relationship with her in 2018. If you’re new to this saga, you can see an executive summary of what’s been going on here. The threats to this site include:

  1. An attempt to modify a legal settlement by adding a provision which would have the More Than Two domain name turned over to her.
  2. An attempt to register a trademark on the phrase "More Than Two," which I have been using since 2006, over six years before we met.
  3. A lawsuit she has filed against me.

I've recently redesigned this page to make it easier to read. New additions will now be at the top rather than the bottom. I will keep updating this page as the legal dispute unfolds.

I cannot express how much I appreciate the enormous outpouring of support as I seek to defend the work I've done on this site over the past sixteen years. Not just your contributions, but all your messages of support and encouragement, have been humbling as I deal with this situation. Thank you all so very much.


Current Timeline of the Fight
to Save More Than Two

2022

October 20, 2022: We have scheduled another mediation with a new mediator. This second attempt at mediation will take place on January 12, 2023.

October 17, 2022: The trademark application for MORE THAN TWO has been assigned to a trademark examiner.

October 13, 2022: Ms. Rickert's attorney announces Ms. Rickert will drop the lawsuit and go into another mediation session if I drop counterclaims and the discovery request.

October 12, 2022: My attorney asks Ms. Rickert's attorney to produce the documents for discovery.

October 10, 2022: The deadline for the materials my attorney and I requested for discovery is today. Specifically, the materials we requested as part of the discovery process when Ms. Rickert filed her lawsuit include:

  • Documentation of Ms. Rickert's "head trauma" that she claims rendered our original settlement invalid;
  • Documents of financial transactions made by Ms. Rickert, including financial payments made to Louisa Leontiades and payments made to the self-identified "Franklin Veaux survivors;"
  • Thorntree Press financials, which according to the terms of my contract are to be made available to me anyway;
  • Any communication between Ms. Rickert and Amazon regarding books I authored or co-authored after leaving her (a person or persons have, among other things, filed false copyright claims against books I co-authored);
  • Canadian tax documents regarding my employment by Ms. Rickert's company; and
  • Communication between Ms. Rickert and independent artists who worked on the books I authored or co-authored after leaving Ms. Rickert.
You can see the discovery request here.

October 7, 2022
Eve Rickert’s attorney has filed a motion to suppress the subpoena to look at Thorntree Press’s financial records.

Section 16 of my contract with Thorntree Press specifically gives me, as an author, the right to see these records (note that this is the version of the contract Eve bullied me into signing after I left her, with changes from the original contract while we were still together highlighted), yet Ms. Rickert has, over and over again, gone to extraordinary lengths to prevent me from doing so.

This is not what innocent people do when accused of financial impropriety. If, as she contends, she has paid me all royalties due to me under contract, the financials would show this.

October 6, 2022
The deadline for Eve Rickert to deliver the subpoenaed financial information from Thorntree Press is today. Eve Rickert's lawyer has contacted my lawyer to say they will not be delivering the documents, and that if we don't agree to amend the subpoena, they will fight to have it squashed.

My lawyer believes, and I concur, that the documents will show a pattern of embezzlement going back to the first publication of More Than Two,, and will demonstrate a clear and convincing history that Eve Rickert has wrongfully taken money that does not belong to her.

It's a bit seedy and sad that all of this—the legal dispute, the social media smear campaign, everything—is, in the end, about money. More Than Two has been a fabulously successful book that has generated hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales. Sometimes, that much money shows a person's true colors. In any event, we are not limiting the subpoena. My lawyer is confident we will prevail, and there's a reason Eve Rickert is fighting so hard to hide that information. People don't fight to keep things out of court if those things prove they're right.

October 1, 2022
I’ve received a statement stating that Eve Rickert has dissolved Thorntree Press, set up a new Canadian publishing company, and transferred all Thorntree Press book contracts to this new company.

Apparently, she really doesn’t want me to see the Thorntree Press financials.

October 1, 2022
In February, Eve and those in her orbit mounted a vicious social media campaign of really weird lies about a new book on polyamory, A World Beyond Monogamy, written by a British BBC and Reuters journalist named Jonathan Kent. According to the stories, I either wrote the book myself, with Mr. Kent as a catspaw, or I somehow profit from the book’s sales.

Of course these bizarre stories aren'’t true, and it's a bit peculiar in a funny-not-funny way that I need to do this at all, but I’ve released a statement about Mr. Kent’s book. tl;dr: Jonathan Kent is a real person. I am not Jonathan Kent. I did not write Jonathan Kent’s book, and I make no money from it (unless you buy it from my Amazon affiliate link, of course).

September 23, 2022
The US Patent and Trademark Office still has not assigned an examiner to hear my objections to Eve Rickert’s attempt to
steal my trademark. Ms. Rickert likes to claim that I take credit for other people’s work; there are, as the saying goes, some folks for whom every accusation is actually a confession.

September 23, 2022
My lawyer has issued a subpoena for the Thorntree Press financials for the years in which I believe Ms. Rickert cheated me of tens of thousands of dollars.

September 22, 2022
After extensive attempts to see the Thorntree Press financials, which I believe will show that Eve Rickert has embezzled significant royalty payments legally due to me, I was finally able to see the books in Ms. Rickert's office. The contract I have with Thorntree Press allows me to audit the financials, but Ms. Rickert refused to provide any information prior to 2020. (The payments she never made were from 2014-2017.)

September 12, 2022
Ms. Rickert, through her current attorney Ms. Manners, has proposed a 'settlement' that would have me surrender all of my intellectual property to her, including this website, and forever release her from any claim of attorney fees on my part, while leaving her free to pursue claims of attorneys fees. It would also move the venue for future legal disputes to the Canadian court system.

My attorney characterized the proposal by saying "no part of this offer is acceptable."

September 22, 2022
I visited the office of Eve Rickert's attorney today to see the financials for Thorntree Press. Even though the statute of limitations for embezzlement is only 6 years in Oregon, meaning that the early royalties I was never paid are now beyond legal remedy, my contract still gives me the right to see all of Thorntree's financials. Ms. Rickert and her attorney have refused to provide financials earlier than 2020, so my attorney is now subpoenaing those records.

August 30, 2022
Today I received an email telling me that Ms. Rickert is taking the book Black Iron I co-wrote with her out of print, and in an unusual step that violates both accepted publishing industry standards and my publishing contract with Thorntree Press, she intends to try to take back the advance for the book.

August 29, 2022
Ms. Rickert has filed a motion demanding $22,000 in attorney’s fees for Thorntree Press, claiming that she “prevailed” when in fact no ruling in her favor has been made.

August 26, 2022
Legal counsel for Eve Rickert demands that I remove my statement about the cancelation of PolyDay.

August 25, 2022
The organizers of PolyDay, a polyamory convention in London, cancel the 2022 convention after the owner of PolyPages, who had previously failed in an attempt to claim the trademarks and take over organization of PolyDay and who claims to be working in support of my ex, released a TikTok video falsely claiming that I am affiliated with and profit from PolyDay.

As a result of this video, people scheduled to present at PolyDay received threats.

You can see the PolyDay organizers’s statement here. I have written about this here. It saddens me greatly to see that there are people involved in the polyamory community who think that emailing threats to polyamorous speakers is okay.

August 23, 2022
My attorney has again requested a copy of Thorntree Press's financial information. This information will demonstrate that Ms. Rickert has improperly failed to pay me royalties on the books I authored or co-authored and published through Thorntree Press.

August 16, 2022
I have spoken with the accountant who will be conducting an accounting of Thorntree Press’s books. My lawyer has informed me that in Oregon, the statute of limitations for embezzlement is 6 years, so the royalties I was never paid between 2014 and 2015 for More Than Two are beyond claiming in court. Ms. Rickert’s lawyer, Tania Manners, is refusing to sign a tolling agreement that would stop the clock on the statute of limitations for the royalties I am owed from 2014 and 2015, including royalties from sales of foreign language publication rights.

August 10, 2022
Tania Manners files a motion with the court objecting to “the disclosure of a private medical condition” with respect to Ms. Rickert’s claimed “head trauma” during our November mediation. My attorney argues this is not covered by mediation confidentiality because Ms. Rickert failed to mention any “head trauma” at any point before or during the mediation, and indeed did not claim such trauma until well after the mediation, when she attempted to argue she should not be bound by the terms we discussed.

August 9, 2022
Tania Manners informs my lawyer that Ms. Rickert is willing to drop her lawsuit if I am willing to drop my counterclaims and discovery requests, and attempt another mediation with her. My lawyer has asked for clarification as to whether or not this includes Ms. Rickert abandoning her attempt to claim the trademark to the phrase “More Than Two,” and that we will be proceeding with a forensic audit of the Thorntree Press financials. He has also asked for certification that Ms. Rickert is in good health and not suffering a head trauma before we enter into any further negotiation.

August 3, 2022
My attorney advises me to hire a forensic accountant to audit Thorntree Press’s financials and determine how much money Ms. Rickert has failed to pay me since 2014.

August 3, 2022
My attorney files our response to Ted Roe and Ms. Rickert’s motion to strike information from our response to her lawsuit.

August 1, 2022
Eve Rickert’s lawyer Ted Roe informs my attorney he will not longer be representing Ms. Rickert, and that Tania Manners will take over representing her and Thorntree Press.

July 26, 2022
Ms. Rickert’s attorney for Thorntree Press, Tania Manners, asks if we will take the dispute with Thorntree Press to mediation. From 2014 on, Ms. Rickert failed to pay me significant royalties from the book we co-authored, More Than Two, including royalties from foreign language translation rights.

July 25, 2022
Ms. Rickert’s attorney for Thorntree Press, Tania Manners, files to have the discovery request and third party action against Thorntree Press dismissed. My attorney informs her that the rules of Multnomah County’s courts require that she confer with opposing counsel before filing in this way.

July 22, 2022
Ms. Rickert’s attorney for Thorntree Press, Tania Manners, responds to our discovery request regarding Thorntree Press financials and our intention to seek default judgment against Thorntree Press by asking us for an extension on the time to produce materials for discovery. My attorney advises that I grant the extension.

July 13, 2022
My attorney asks Mr. Roe if he is willing to redact sections of the lawsuit which mention the settlement agreement, and opened the door to our reply which also mentions the settlement agreement.

July 13, 2022
Eve Rickert’s attorney Ted Roe proposes changes to the Protective Order. He has also complained that our response to Ms. Rickert’s lawsuit reveals confidential information from our mediation last November.

July 12, 2022
Because the attorney for Thorntree Press has not responded to the discovery request, my attorney has filed with the court notification of intent to seek default judgment against Thorntree Press.

July 11, 2022
Ted Roe, Eve Rickert's personal attorney, has objected to the requested documents in the discovery phase of the lawsuit, and is also claiming that the requested documents are protected by confidentiality. My lawyer has drafted a Protective Order which would protect documents that are considered confidential under Oregon law.

June 27, 2022
Ms. Rickert's attempt to claim the trademark for "More Than Two" still has not been assigned to a trademark examiner or published for commentary. My attorney and I have already begun preparing a challenge to the filing, which we will submit when the trademark application is published for comments. Unfortunately, that may not be for months.

June 17, 2022
In anticipation of the discovery phase of the lawsuit, my lawyer has filed requests for information with Ms. Rickert and with Thorntree Press, the publishing company we co-founded and she now owns.

June 8, 2022
My lawyer has filed our response to Ms. Rickert's lawsuit with the court.

May 31, 2022
Many people contacted me some years ago, before the accusations about me were published, to tell me a woman named Louisa Leontiades had contacted them on social media or through email claiming to be a journalist and looking for information about me. Ms. Leontiades is a client of Ms. Rickert's, though she didn't disclose that fact. If you were contacted at any point by Ms. Leontiades seeking information about me, regardless of whether or not you responded, my attorney would very much like to speak with you. You can see examples of the kind of communication I'm talking about here. Please email me directly here.

May 27, 2022
I have now been served, and my attorney is preparing a response to the notice as we move into the discovery phase of the lawsuit.

May 25, 2022
My attorney has informed me I've finally been served. We have already prepared a response to the lawsuit, which is ready to be filed.

May 24, 2022
Ms. Rickert's attorney Ted Roe has contacted my attorney with a very angry letter claiming that Ms. Rickert has not made a copyright claim, and labeling my talking about him on this site "unacceptable." In the interests of transparency, I will continue to update this page with relevant communications from Ms. Rickert and her representatives.

As of today, I still have not been served.

May 18, 2022
I've had another conversation with my lawyer today. Strangely, Ms. Rickert still hasn't served me, raising the possibility that the lawsuit is more about trying to bully or harass than to settle legitimate grievances.

May 13, 2022
I still have yet to be served.

May 11, 2022 Ms. Rickert's attorney has returned from vacation, and has asked my attorney to waive my right to service. I have declined to waive my rights.

As of today, I still have not formally been served. My attorney is still awaiting service, and has already prepared our response when that happens.

My lawyer has prepared a filing to contest Ms. Rickert's attempt to register the trademark on the phrase "More Than Two." This will be filed once the trademark comes up for opposition.

April 25, 2022
During a lengthy phone conversation with my lawyer, he informs me that Ms. Rickert's attorney still has not properly served us. Ms. Rickert's attorney continues to maintain that the excerpts from the book on this Web site is a violation of copyright. Additionally, Ms. Rickert's attorney has notified my attorney that he is going on vacation.

April 21, 2022
Ted Roe communicates a demand to remove quotes from the book More Than Two from this website or risk legal action. Mr. Roe also demands I remove remarks about the mediation from this website or face additional legal action.

April 14, 2022
Ted Roe threatens to "cite your actions which cause unnecessary expense when we apply to the court for an award of attorney fees" because my attorney has asked him to comply with Oregon requirements for service.

April 13, 2022
My ex's attorney Ted Roe attempts to serve papers for the lawsuit. His service fails to comply with the requirements of the State of Oregon. My lawyer informs him of the defect in service.

April 11, 2022
Ms. Fox repeats her demand that I remove quotes from the book More Than Two from this Web site. In those demands, she says:

It may also be helpful to review the roots of the commerce clause. Especially after your client's use of the work on a website that (i) makes money from ads, (ii) promotes & links to products for purchase, and (iii) raises money not related to a 501(c)(3), I think it's quite clear that the use is commercial in nature.

March 27, 2022
I am able to pay my lawyer the litigation retainer to contest the trademark applications and defend me in the lawsuit, thanks to the kindness and generosity of people who support my crowdfunding.

March 21, 2022
Mr. Roe sends my attorney a demand that I close my crowdfunding and remove pages from the More Than Two site talking about the litigation.

March 18, 2022
Ms. Rickert files a lawsuit against me in Multnomah County Court asking that the November settlement be voided. My attorney informs me that I will need to provide a litigation retainer fee to defend myself in the lawsuit.

March 14, 2022
Ms. Fox sends my attorney a demand that I remove quotes from the book More Than Two from the morethantwo.com site.

March 2, 2022
My attorney informs me that I will need to provide a litigation retainer fee to contest Ms. Rickert’s application for the trademark.

February 24, 2022
In a communication with my attorney, Ms. Fox acknowledges that the More Than Two trademark belongs to me and I first used it years before I met Ms. Rickert, but maintains that the trademark should belong to Ms. Rickert anyway because Ms. Rickert commercialized use of the mark.

February 15, 2022
A new attorney, Ted Roe, informs my attorney that he has replaced Mr. Hayes in representing Ms. Rickert.

February 9, 2002
I begin assembling the documentation to show that I was using the name “More Than Two” long before I ever met Ms. Rickert. This documentation includes:

February 7, 2002
I advise my attorney to begin opposition proceedings to Ms. Rickert’s attempt to register the trademark “More Than Two.”

February 3, 2022
Ms. Fox informs my lawyer she believes that Ms. Rickert has a rightful claim to the trademark "More Than Two" because:

a preexisting outline or manuscript would have no effect on common law trademark rights, which vest only through commercial use. That is not the case for your client, as Thorntree was the first to commercially exploit the book as part of its series.

February 1, 2002
Ms. Fox advises my attorney she will not withdraw the trademark registration.

January 24, 2022
My attorney communicates to Ms. Fox that I began using the phrase “More Than Two” in 2006, advising her that we will dispute any attempt to register the trademark, and asking her to withdraw the trademark application.

January 21, 2022
My attorney communicates to Mr. Hayes that I will not surrender the domain name morethantwo.com, and that doing so was not part of the mediated agreement.

January 19, 2022
Chris Hayes sends my attorney a revised settlement that includes new provisions for turning over control of the domain name morethantwo.com to Ms. Rickert.

January 17, 2022
Ms. Rickert’s attorney Chris Hayes suggests minor changes to the final mediation agreement.

January 2022
Eve’s trademark attorney, Caroline Fox, files for registered trademarks for the phrase “More Than Two.”

2021

November 30, 2021
The most recent of several mediation attempts, this one in front of Judge Karsten Rasmussen. At the conclusion, we agreed to a set of points (covered by confidentiality) that would have finalized our remaining connections.