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Author Terry McMillan's $ 40 Million Dollar Lawsuit

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Daniel Horowitz: Championing Justice for Author Terry McMillan


Daniel Horowitz, a seasoned trial lawyer based in Lafayette, California, has left an indelible mark on the legal landscape. His expertise extends beyond the courtroom, encompassing high-profile cases, media commentary, and community involvement. One such notable case involved representing the acclaimed author Terry McMillan.

Terry McMillan’s Legal Battle


Terry McMillan, known for her best-selling novels like “Waiting to Exhale” and “How Stella Got Her Groove Back,” faced a challenging legal situation. Her ex-husband allegedly attempted to extort money from her during their divorce proceedings.

Terry McMillan vs. Jonathan Plummer Case

Terry McMillan, found herself embroiled in a high-profile legal dispute during her divorce from Jonathan Plummer. Their relationship had inspired her novel “How Stella Got Her Groove Back,” which explored a May-December romance.

Key Details - Divorce and Allegations:

In 2005, Terry McMillan and Jonathan Plummer divorced. The divorce proceedings took a contentious turn when Plummer revealed that he was gay. McMillan alleged that their marriage was “based on deceit” and accused Plummer of marrying her for financial gain and U.S. citizenship. Plummer disputed those allegations.

Reputation Damage and Lawsuit:

McMillan filed a lawsuit against her ex-husband, seeking $40 million in damages. She claimed that Plummer had intentionally tarnished her reputation during the divorce process. The lawsuit accused Plummer and his lawyer, Dolores Sargent, of conspiring to harm McMillan’s personal and professional standing.

The lawsuit alleged that certain statements relating to settlement in the divorce action were extortion. The lawsuit claimed that the demand made were that the case should settle and if it didn’t there would be negative publicity. Dancer Michael Flately had filed a lawsuit claiming that a demand letter from a lawyer was extortion and not protected conduct. This lawsuit created a very narrow window to file a lawsuit on those grounds. The lawsuit was strongly contested with the lawyer and Plummer claiming they were just stating a fact and not making any threats express or implied.

Invasion of Privacy and Restraining Order Violation:

McMillan also alleged invasion of privacy. She asserted that Plummer violated a restraining order when he contacted her to speak with their son.

Impact and Emotional Toll:

McMillan’s pain and betrayal were palpable. She likened the experience to a personal death.
During an emotional confrontation on Oprah, she confronted Plummer, saying, “You didn’t say anything about being gay. You said everything but that.” Plummer later asserted that he had only realized he was gay in the final two years of their marriage.


While the details of the case remain private, we can disclose that lawsuit against the attorney was dismissed as privileged under the California statute protecting the right of attorneys to make strong settlement statements without being sued for extortion. However, the case against Jonathan Plummer was allowed to go forward. The case settled quickly after that.

Daniel Horowitz has his legal practice in Lafayette, California (Contra Costa County). His law firm provides creative and aggressive representation in a wide variety of cases.

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