Peter Arnell can't seem to catch a break these days. Earlier this year, the advertising mogul and "brand expert" was widely mocked for blowing millions on a silly, new logo Pepsi. Just weeks later, his decision to change Tropicana's packaging turned into an epic disaster, causing thousands of consumers to cry foul and sending sales plummeting by 20 percent. Now he has another more defeat to add to his list. HarperCollins just won a lawsuit against Arnell and he'll now have to write the publishing house a check for $100,000.
In 2006, Arnell agreed to publish a book about "personal branding," and HarperCollins agreed to pay him an advance of $550,000 as part of the deal, with $100,000 payable upfront. Unfortunately for Arnell—and despite the fact he, himself, wasn't even supposed to be writing the book and had agreed to hire a ghostwriter as part of the contract—he never managed to come through.
Over the course of the next year, two ghostwriters were fired "because their work was not satisfactory to him or his editor," and Arnell finally agreed to write the book himself with the help of his wife and personal assistant. But the final draft, which Arnell turned in to HarperCollins in late 2006, was less than 25,000 words, a far cry from the 80,000 words detailed in the contract he signed. Naturally, Arnell didn't return the $100,000—he filed a counterclaim and whined that he hadn't been provided the "editorial support" he needed to complete the book. A judge, however, didn't buy it, and last week Arnell was ordered to pay HarperCollins $100,000 plus interest. The judge's ruling below.