Time for ‘A Mil­lion Lit­tle’ re­funds

James Frey, au­thor of the fraud­u­lent mem­oir, and Ran­dom House agree to re­im­burse qual­i­fied read­ers.

Los Angeles Times - - Calendar - By Josh Getlin

NEW YORK — Ran­dom House and au­thor James Frey have reached an agree­ment in prin­ci­ple to pay up to $2.35 mil­lion in re­funds to read­ers who be­lieve they were “mis­led” by the mar­ket­ing of Frey’s fraud­u­lent mem­oir, “A Mil­lion Lit­tle Pieces,” the pub­lish­ing gi­ant an­nounced Fri­day.

Un­der a deal given pre­lim­i­nary ap­proval by Man­hat­tan Fed­eral Judge Richard Hol­well, read­ers who sub­mit valid claims will get a full re­fund, un­less other ex­penses — such as at­tor­ney’s fees and other costs — ex­ceed $2.35 mil­lion. In that case, the com­pany said, cus­tomers will get a pro-rated re­fund.

Frey, whose book sold 3 mil­lion copies fol­low­ing its se­lec­tion for Oprah Win­frey’s book club in 2005, later ad­mit­ted that he had ex­ag­ger­ated or in­vented key de­tails about his bat­tles with al­co­hol and drug ad­dic­tion, as well as his ex­pe­ri­ences in jail. Sev­eral law­suits were filed by read­ers who claimed they were de­frauded, and Hol­well’s set­tle­ment re­solved those ac­tions.

No­tices about the set­tle­ment will be ap­pear­ing in sev­eral publi­ca­tions over the next few months, and de­tails about where read­ers should send their claims will also be pro­vided on aweb­site cre­ated to deal with the claim.

The set­tle­ment will also cre­ate a char­i­ta­ble or­ga­ni­za­tion to which con­tri­bu­tions may be made from un­cashed re­fund checks and the de­fen­dants.

In a state­ment is­sued Fri­day, the com­pany said “Ran­dom House and James Frey vig­or­ously deny any wrong­do­ing and li­a­bil­ity” but added that it had agreed to the set­tle­ment “to halt the sub­stan­tial ex­pense and dis­trac­tion” cre­ated by the law­suits.

Those read­ers who bought the hard­cover edi­tion will get as much as $23.95 back if they tear out page 163 and mail it along with their claim; those who bought the pa­per­back edi­tion and mail in the cover are el­i­gi­ble for as much as $14.95.

Ran­dom House will also be pro­vid­ing re­funds to cus­tomers who bought the au­dio­cas­sette and CD ver­sions.

Claims must be filed by Oct. 1.

josh.getlin@la­times.com

Ed­ward M. Pio Roda As­so­ci­ated Press

DE­CEP­TION: Frey has ad­mit­ted toy­ing with truth.

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