Speaking of Good Samaritans: On January 2, New Yorker Wesley Autrey jumped off a subway platform in front of an oncoming train to rescue a man who had fallen onto the tracks. After a wave of good publicity, he signed a contract with an attorney, Diane Kleiman, to help him exploit his newfound celebrity.
Now… he’s suing that attorney, claiming that the contract he signed was unfair and asking that the court declare it void:
Autrey, a 50-year-old Bronx construction worker, says in court papers that the contract is “a one-sided agreement” he was induced to sign by “fraud” and that it gives the lion’s share of everything he earns to Kleiman and her business partner, Marco Antonio Esposito, operator of an entertainment production company.
Autrey’s lawsuit, filed Friday, says the contract gives Kleiman and Esposito exclusive rights to exploit his name and reputation and gives them ownership of intellectual property rights to his story.
The contract also gives Kleiman and Esposito the right to receive all gross receipts from commercial exploitation of Autrey’s name and to keep half those receipts, whether or not they helped generate the money, court papers say.
Whether the contract is fair or not, I can’t say; Autrey claiming he signed it without reading it certainly doesn’t win him any sympathy points with me.
Normally, a lawyer fired by a former client will simply express disappointment that the relationship did not work out. But Kleiman decided to take a more aggressive approach:
Diane Kleiman […] said the construction worker must not have been thinking straight when he saved a stranger while his daughters stood on the platform.
“Some people call it heroic, but in some sense, it is stupid,” she said. “Quite frankly, he should have been more worried about his little kids.”
Just to ensure that nobody would ever save her if she fell in front of a subway car, she added, “He’s a 50-year-old guy with three kids who owes tens of thousands of dollars and doesn’t pay his bills,” and, “There is nothing incredible about Wesley Autrey.”