Monday, April 30, 2012

Three Cups of Tea Author Prevails in Courthouse

The rather frivolous lawsuit against Three Cups of Tea and Stones into Schools author Greg Mortenson has been thrown out of court by a United States district judge.  USA Today offers the details here:
U.S. District Judge Sam Haddon rejected the civil lawsuit filed by four people who bought Mortenson's books.
They claimed Mortenson lied in his best-selling books "Three Cups of Tea" and "Stones Into Schools" so that he and publisher Penguin Group (USA) could sell millions of books and raise tens of millions of dollars for the charity Mortenson co-founded, the Central Asia Institute.
The plaintiffs claimed racketeering, fraud and deceit by Mortenson, co-author David Oliver Relin, Penguin andCentral Asia Institute, saying they conspired to build Mortenson into a false hero to raise money.
Apparently, the judge saw a problem with the lack of specifics regarding the racketeering charge, but from the start I figured that the suit was destined for dismissal by any judge willing to exercise a little common sense.  It is shameful, really, that so much time and money had to be spent on something like this at all.  The article does not specify whether the plaintiffs are liable for any of the court costs of Mortenson, Penguin, and the school-building charity.

That said, I do still think that Mortenson's alleged decision to change the facts just enough to make him look like more of a hero than he was reflects poorly upon him and his publisher, Penguin.  We talked about that a bit last week here and I believe that Library Girl made an excellent comment regarding a publisher's responsibility to ensure the truth and accuracy of its memoirs.

See Are Publishers Responsible for Content of Memoirs They Publish? for earlier post.


  1. It is a shame that he chose to embellish instead of letting the facts be what they are. His charity can do so much but will do much less now because of his insistence on spinning tall tales.

  2. It's definitely a shame that the author had to pull that stunt, Kathleen, but it looks like the charity has pretty much recovered from the incident. Maybe there was no long term damage suffered, after all.