A Canadian County judge set the trial date in Xerox’s civil case against Tate Publishing.
This morning, Judge Bob W. Hughey set a pre-trial conference for 9 a.m. June 19 followed by the non-jury trial at 9 a.m. July 10, according to court officials.
The Xerox Corporation is accusing Tate Publishing and its CEO Ryan Tate of failing to pay what it owes on printing equipment leases. The company filed their lawsuit May 27.
Judge Hughey granted two requests Friday, including Xerox’s request for a non-jury trial and also an application by the Ramey & Tharp law firm by George H. Ramey, to withdraw as the attorney for Tate Publishing and Ryan Tate.
In the application, Ramey writes that his clients “have not fully cooperated in preparation of the case or communicated with the firm to supply necessary information and make their representatives available, and answer calls.”
Ramey also states that his clients have “failed to meet their financial obligations with the law firm,” according to court documents.
Ramey is the second attorney to represent the company, after Richard Hasley, withdrew from the case due to his retirement.
Tate Publishing’s response to the lawsuit in court documents has denied Xerox’s claims. They have asked for “strict proof of their alleged fault.” The company admitted to being in debt to Xerox and having a promissory note with Xerox, but denied the listed amounts, again asking for proof.
According to court documents, Xerox’s printing equipment leased to Tate is valued at $450,067, Tate has $1.29 million in outstanding payments and owes a $464,000 promissory note.
The equipment has been returned to the company, court documents show.
Also on Friday, TV news crews could be seen outside of the publishing company’s office. In addition, the building had two of its windows removed and workers could be seen cleaning up glass.
Xerox is not the only company to sue Tate Publishing. Also this week, Lightning Source filed a lawsuit in the Western District of the U.S. District Court. The Tennessee-based company seeks repayment of $722,000 paid to Tate Publishing in June 2016 for the exclusive distribution and printing for at least 5.5 million books during the next five years.
Lightning seeks repayment from the company or Ryan Tate, who reportedly signed a personal guarantee.
Earlier this week, Tate’s website was down for maintenance but on Friday, it had a message to its authors on its homepage.
“Tate Publishing is experiencing a transition period and we are no longer accepting any new authors or artists. All authors and artists will be contacted directly within the next few weeks about the status of your production and your options for completing your projects.”
They then give instructions for customers wishing to terminate their relationship with the company, providing forms for both released and non-released projects.
A former Tate employee and a Tate author reported to the Mustang News about their dealings with the publishing company.
“In December, all Philippines operations (where all of production happens–editing, layout, design, etc.) were shut down by the department of labor for back rent and utilities and failure to pay employees,” the former employee said Wednesday. “It’s been rumored that Oklahoma City operations were shut down today and employees are changing their job information (or previous job information, because they were also let go) to Lux Creative, which is an LLC under the CEO’s wife’s name.”
Steve Stone, who submitted a print order to Tate in November, said he is unable to get the status of his project.
Stone received a notice that Tate was “pulling pre-production work from their shop in The Philippines back to the U.S.” A few days later, he said, he received another notice that the company had set up a web portal on the web site for authors and artists to track status on production and orders and to ask questions.
“They promised a quick turnaround on all questions, usually within 48 hours. I posed two questions over a week ago, with no response.
“I understand Tate is a private company, but Ryan is not pleasing the people who rely on Tate to get their works out to the public. If he’s going to shut down, then tell people there will be a shut down.”
Stone has tried to reach the company. “I suspect I’ll end up eating that loss and trying to figure out where to go next.”