When a bestseller or big-name celebrity comes to town, a bookstore may not be big enough to host an event. So the event goes to a n outside venue – like a convention center – with the bookstore selling the author’s books on-site. It should have worked on May 1, when Paula Deen visited Mobile and appeared at the Arthur R. Outlaw Mobile Convention Center. Instead, as the Mobile Press-Register, reports, it all went haywire, leading to a $1.5 million lawsuit by Page & Palette bookstore against the convention center and a production company. In the lawsuit, Page & Palette demanded $501,000 from the Convention Center and $500,000 each from SMG, the Philadelphia-based company that operates the center, and Dorsett Productions.
The bookstore, which organized the event, says its name and reputation were “once and forever damaged” by the poor presentation and that it will suffer a loss of future profits, according to the lawsuit. A number of attendees called the Press-Register after the event took place to complain about a lack of food, poor sound quality and a gridlock of traffic in the parking deck. Page and Palette further allege in the lawsuit that “muffled and containing excessive echo,” the lighting was so poor that “certain audience members couldn’t find their seats” and the viewing screens had “poor resolution.”