Readers Sue Lance Armstrong for Going 'Million Little Pieces' in Autobiography

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It's not quite James Frey 2.0, but right after Oprah got involved, Lance Armstrong is suddenly in big trouble over a book he wrote about himself — to the tune of $5 million.

Bloomberg's Edvard Pettersson reports that a consumer class-action suit was filed in a Sacramento court today alleging that Armstrong and the publishers of his autobiographies misrepresented a life story that appears, in light of recent highly televised events, to have been largely untrue. Like Armstrong, A Million Little Pieces author James Frey was caught fabricating a book about his life, then went on TV to tell Oprah the real story — and had to settle for $2.35 million after a reader lawsuit before starting his own publishing company to recoup the losses. And this new suit accuses Armstrong as well as Penguin, Random House, and Crown of false advertising, negligent representation, fraud, and deceit.

According to USA Today's Brent Schrotenboer, the case focuses on Armstrong's 2000 autobiography It's Not About the BikeABC News's Suzanne Phan reports the suit's central plaintiffs are Rob Stutzman, the former Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Jonathan Wheeler, a local Sacramento professional chef. They filed on behalf of 100 others, too.

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"Defendants knew or should have known these books were works of fiction," the suit states. Stutzman "doesn't buy a lot of books or read a lot," but he and Wheeler were inspired by Armstrong's story and recommended it to friends. Now they want $5 million. 

Over the weekend, it seemed one Australian library already had that idea. A note posted to Reddit got the library some attention for reportedly moving Armstrong's books to a more appropriate section: fiction. Unfortunately, turns out it was only a joke from a part-time staff member. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.