California Appeals Court Rejects Cochran’s Effort To Overturn Judgment Favoring Beagle

A California Appeals Court has dismissed as moot Connor Cochran’s last-ditch attempt to overturn a lower court award of damages to Peter S. Beagle because there is no longer any obligation for Cochran to pay it – his debts were discharged in his personal bankruptcy proceeding.

Cochran had been trying to appeal the 2019 judgment by arguing that although the monetary award cannot be enforced, the judgment can still be used to besmirch his name by “appearing to find [him] liable for misconduct parallel to criminal fraud.”

In 2019 a California court awarded Peter S. Beagle $332,000 in damages for his claims against Cochran involving financial elder abuse, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, and defamation. Beagle originally sued Cochran in 2015 for $52 million in damages, disgorgement of illegal gains and restitution, and dissolution of two corporations he co-owned with Cochran, Avicenna Development Corporation, and Conlan Press, Inc. The claims against the corporate entities were not part of the state trial, being subject to the automatic stay of litigation that went into effect when Cochran and his companies filed federal Chapter 11 bankruptcy on January 4, 2018 (the day before the state trial was originally scheduled to begin.) Only after the U.S. Bankruptcy Court partially lifted the automatic stay could Beagle’s suit against Cochran as an individual be tried.

Since then, Cochran, Avicenna, and Conlan Press have all gone through Chapter 7 liquidating bankruptcy proceedings, and in February 2021 Beagle and a new ownership group regained control of his work following a court-approved sale.

Even though the judgment against Cochran could no longer be collected, he pursued his appeal of the award as a means of disputing Beagle’s claims of financial elder abuse, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, and defamation. The panel of judges reviewed a lot of testimony about those issues, which they recapped in their opinion. However, they didn’t rule on any of those issues, ultimately deciding the action was moot “because Cochran obtained an order of discharge from the bankruptcy court that rendered the judgment void and unenforceable.”

(A downloadable copy of the decision is below.)

20 thoughts on “California Appeals Court Rejects Cochran’s Effort To Overturn Judgment Favoring Beagle

  1. Click.

    I remember encountering Cochran’s works (art and fiction) under his pseudonym “Freff”

  2. So Beagle will never be paid back the hundreds of thousands of dollars that Cochran stole from him. What a jerk. 😐

  3. JJ says So Beagle will never be paid back the hundreds of thousands of dollars that Cochran stole from him. What a jerk.

    A very small minded jerk. He once threatened to sue me for calling him repeatedly online a Rat Bastard. I said go ahead and try to do that. He of course never did.

  4. Forrey Ackerman also won but never saw a dime. He even had to sell his “mansion” and traded down to a “cottage.”

  5. John King Tarpinian says Forrest Ackerman also won but never saw a dime. He even had to sell his “mansion” and traded down to a “cottage.”

    Peter’s residential situation is both stable and comfortable now. It’s not up to me to say more than that.

  6. Andrew (not Werdna) says I am happy to hear that Beagle’s housing situation is good.

    Peter has a great support team, both legal and otherwise. They get the credit for getting him through some very difficult times. And Tachyon, his present publishing house, is stellar in their support of him.

    I’ll do a particular shout out to his editor, Deborah Grabien, who some of you might recognise as the author of the Haunted Ballads series.

  7. I wonder if Peter Beagle has any interest in completing the Writing Sarek book he was supposedly writing for Conlan Press.

  8. Howard Decker says I wonder if Peter Beagle has any interest in completing the Writing Sarek book he was supposedly writing for Conlan Press.

    There was never any Writing Sarek book. It was a scam by Connor. No more than an outline ever existed. He even sold copies of the book to folks who never got a copy of it. Nor got their money back.

  9. Let me correct my previous comment. Connor sold non-existent copies of that book to individuals. He was very, very good at doing that. It was hardly the only thing of Peter’s that he said existed that didn’t’ as he claimed Peter had whole novels had written that hadn’t been so written. (He touted these novels at some Cons.) And then tried to claim co-authorship on them.

    Hardly the worse thing that the Rat Bastard did as he retroactively claimed authorship on Peter’s older works as well, a claim the Court very quickly rejected.

  10. I was wondering why the live action version of The Last Unicorn hadn’t materialized, and now I guess I know.

  11. Jim Janney says I was wondering why the live action version of The Last Unicorn hadn’t materialized, and now I guess I know.

    Let’s put this way: if the frelling Rat Bastard promised a Peter S. Beagle product was going to happen, betting that it was going to happen was a very was choice indeed.

    He even had himself as Peter’s editor for a number of years. Any of your feline companions would’ve been a far better editor than he was. At least they would done no considerable harm to his writing.

    (No I am not bitter. Not me.)

    (Conflict of interest note stated with pride. I have been chosen to put together his new personal web site.)

  12. Correction: I’m meant

    Let’s put this way: if the frelling Rat Bastard promised a Peter S. Beagle product was going to happen, betting that it was not going to happen was a very wise choice indeed.

    I need to better edit my own words.

  13. I am a bit sad that I’m never going to see that audiobook of “The Last Unicorn” that I bought over ten years ago… but oh, well. I’ll just call it a failed Kickstarter. 🙂

  14. @John Fiala: Saaaaaame. I was looking forward to the music! I’m a sap for the music in the animated feature film, don’t get me wrong, but I so much wanted to hear Beagle’s lyrics from the book.

  15. John Fiala says I am a bit sad that I’m never going to see that audiobook of “The Last Unicorn” that I bought over ten years ago… but oh, well. I’ll just call it a failed Kickstarter.

    Ok, how much did he scam you for on that one? I’ll admit I’ve lost track of the products that he took money for and never delivered on.

  16. Cat Eldridge wrote

    (Conflict of interest note stated with pride. I have been chosen to put together his new personal web site.)

    That’s very cool, congrats! Looking forward to seeing the results.

  17. Why weren’t criminal charges brought against RB? It would seem to be that the various fraud charges and elder abuse should incur criminal penalties. You can’t bankrupt yourself out of those charges.

  18. Troyce says Why weren’t criminal charges brought against RB? It would seem to be that the various fraud charges and elder abuse should incur criminal penalties. You can’t bankrupt yourself out of those charges.

    I am told that the statute of limitations was the likely barrier against bringing charges. And I’m also told regardless, a DA would have to decide to bring those charges which none did.

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