This morning, U.S. District Judge Sam Haddon threw out a civil lawsuit filed against Greg Mortenson, David Oliver Relin, and the Central Asia Institute by a group of four plaintiffs who claimed that alleged fabrications in Mortenson’s two books, Three Cups of Tea and Stones Into Schools, amounted to a clear pattern of fraud, conspiracy, and racketeering.
In an order dismissing the suit with prejudice, Haddon chided the plaintiffs for presenting arguments that he called imprecise, flimsy, and speculative. Mortenson’s case has been pending for almost a year and will now be closed to further appeal. The lawsuit was filed in the wake of reports on 60 Minutes and by writer Jon Krakauer that Mortenson had fabricated events—sold to the public as nonfiction—in two best-selling books about his experiences building schools in Central Asia.
Below is the full text of Haddon’s ruling:
IN THE UNITED STATES DlSTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF MONTANA
GEORGE and SUSIE PFAU, DAN DONOVAN, and DEBORAH NETTER, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
GREG MORTENSON, DAVID OLIVER RELIN, CENTRAL ASIA INSTITUTE (CAl), a foreign corporation, PENGUIN GROUP (USA), INC., a Delaware Corporation, and MC CONSULTING, INC., a Montana Corporation, Defendants.
No. CV -U-72-M-SEH
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Plaintiffs in this case allege themselves to be consumers who purchased either Three Cups of Tea, a book coauthored by Defendants Greg Mortenson ("Mortenson") and David Oliver Relin ("Relin"), or Stones Into Schools, a book authored by Mortenson (collectively, "the Books"). Penguin Group, Inc. ("Penguin") published the Books. Plaintiffs claim they were harmed by Defendants when they purchased the Books under the belief they were "nonfiction," although the books were, allegedly, filled with fabrications.