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Steinbeck kin gets break in court penalty, but stern warning

LOS ANGELES — A federal appeals court has thrown out $8 million in punitive damages against the daughter-in-law of author John Steinbeck in her long-running copyright spat with the late author’s stepdaughter.

But the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday upheld a $5 million verdict against Gail Steinbeck and told her it’s time to end her legal saga.

Waverly Scott Kaffaga, whose mother, Elaine, was married to Steinbeck when he died in 1968, won a lawsuit two years ago showing Gail Steinbeck meddled with plans to make money off his most famous works.

Kaffaga said Steinbeck helped kill plans to remake films of the “The Grapes of Wrath” and “East of Eden.”

The 3-0 ruling said a lower court could issue an injunction to end what it called Steinbeck’s “recidivist litigation.”

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