SACRAMENTO (CN) - A federal class action claims Lance Armstrong and his publishers defrauded consumers by selling the cyclist's books as nonfiction.
Lead plaintiff Rob Stutzman, a PR consultant, sued Armstrong, Penguin Group, G.P. Putnam's Sons, Berkley Publishing Group, Random House, Broadway Books and Crown Publishing Group, alleging fraud, negligent misrepresentation and business law violations.
Armstrong admitted last week that he used banned drugs to win all seven of his Tour de France titles. He was stripped of them and of all the other titles he won during that time, and lost virtually all of his lucrative endorsement contracts.
Stutzman claims he bought Armstrong's bestseller, "It's Not About the Bike," "sometime between 2001 and 2003." He claims he met Armstrong in 2005 when he, Stutzman, was working on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's PR staff, and told the cyclist that he had recommended the books to friends.
"It's Not About the Bike" spent weeks on the bestseller list after it was published in 2000.
Armstrong's second book, "Every Second Counts," (2002) also was a hit.
He also wrote, or co-wrote, the books "Lance Armstrong, Images of a Champion," (2006), and "My Comeback, Up Close and Personal" (2009).
The 59-page complaint, written in high dudgeon, demands an accounting, restitution, attorney's fees, damages and an injunction.
Stutzman is represented by Kevin Roddy with Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer, of Woodbridge, N.J., and Tracey Buck-Walsh, of Sacramento.
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