Lance Armstrong sued for fraud over book fabrications

Lance Armstrong

That suit, which alleged fraud and unjust enrichment, was dismissed last year by a federal judge in Montana.

The Montana suit was sparked by a critical report by CBS television's "60 Minutes" program challenging the credibility of biographical details in "Three Cups," including Mortenson's account of being kidnapped in Pakistan's Waziristan region after trying unsuccessfully to scale the mountain K2.

The legal cry of fraud against Mortenson followed the example of readers who won a $2.75 million settlement from literary hoaxer James Frey who, like Armstrong, confessed his deception in an interview with Winfrey. His settlement marked a rare victory for aggrieved book buyers.

One potentially significant advantage held by litigants suing Armstrong is that their was filed under California's exceptionally plaintiff-friendly consumer protections laws.

Penguin will be represented in the Armstrong suit by the firm Dorsey & Whitney, which won the Mortenson case for his publisher. The lawyers are sure to raise the same First Amendment and implied-duty defenses in the new case as in the "Three Cups" dispute.

Dorsey partner Jonathan Herman declined to comment on how the publisher will respond to the Armstrong complaint's California-law claims but said, "As far as we're concerned, this is also a case that should be dismissed."

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