Harper Lee’s life was private, but her estate is drawing a lot of interest as well as lawsuits.
The estate of Harper Lee, who is most famous for her novel To Kill a Mockingbird, has found itself involved in multiple legal disputes. The estate has now filed a lawsuit against a theater production company over an adaptation of the novel, according to Everything Lubbock in “Harper Lee estate sues over ‘Mockingbird’ Broadway version.”
Lee preferred to remain quiet and not weigh in on any disputes. Since she passed away, her estate has not been nearly as private. The most recent attention is over the adaptation of the novel for the stage, which was authorized and is being written by Aaron Sorkin. The estate claims that the contract giving authority for the adaptation, required the play to remain faithful to the novel. Apparently, the play does not.
Sorkin’s play changes some characters inappropriately and even adds new characters, according to the estate. The theater company disputes these claims.
It is not necessarily a problem that the estate has a different attitude than Lee. In the absence of explicit prohibitions, an estate trustee has a continuing duty to protect the interests of the estate for the beneficiaries of that estate.