Author's letter is focal point in 'The Help' suit

By HOLBROOK MOHR | The Associated Press

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A letter from Kathryn Stockett has become the focal point in a lawsuit against the author of the bestselling novel “The Help,” which was made into a recently released movie.

A black housekeeper who works for Stockett’s brother claims her likeness was used in the book without permission.

Hinds County, Miss., Judge Tomie Green dismissed the lawsuit last week. She said the statute of limitations elapsed. Stockett gave Ablene Cooper a copy of the book in 2009 and the lawsuit was filed in February.

Cooper’s lawyer wants the lawsuit reinstated, saying the letter shows Stockett mislead Cooper by saying the character, Aibileen, wasn’t based on her.

In a response Monday, Stockett’s lawyer said the letter accompanied a copy of the book and Cooper waited too long to sue.