Judge dismisses plagiarism suit against Elisabeth Hasselbeck


Elisabeth Hasselbeck is off the hook in a plagiarism lawsuit regarding her best-selling gluten-free diet book, “The G-Free Diet: A Gluten-Free Survival Guide.” But it isn’t because she didn’t plagiarize it. It’s simply because the lawyer for opposing party, author Susan Hassett (who wrote “Living with Celiac Disease,” and sent Hasselbeck a copy long before Hasselbeck wrote her book) didn’t file necessary paperwork on time, thus the judge threw out the case. But he also noted that parts of Hasselbeck’s book were definitely lifted from Hassett’s.

Elisabeth Hasselbeck may be a lot of things, but a rip-off artiste isn’t one of them. A plagiarism lawsuit brought against The View’s token conservative was dismissed last week after her accuser’s attorney declined to pursue the case.

The woman behind the initial court action was Susan Hassett, a self-published author who claims that Hasselbeck’s recently released best-seller, The G-Free Diet: A Gluten-Free Survival Guide, lifted significant passages from Hassett’s own book on celiac disease.

U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Tauro dismissed the case last Thursday after Hassett’s attorney failed to turn in paperwork related to the case in a timely enough manner. He later said that while portions of Hassett’s dietary prose were definitely lifted for Hasselbeck’s book, the passages weren’t significant enough to warrant damages. Which is apparently all the lawyer needed to hear to get packing.

For her part, Hasselbeck has long denied the copycat allegations and even addressed them on The View. “I just want to assure you the allegations are without merit and are being handled appropriately,” she told viewers over the summer, when the suit was filed.

As for how the Emotional One would have been privy to the self-published book in the first place, Hassett said she sent Hasselbeck a copy back in April 2008, after finding out the host suffered from celiac disease, along with a personal note. Which presumably did not contain the words don’t, copy or this.

[From E! News]

TMZ has a letter sent by Sue Hassett’s lawyer to Elisabeth, and it has a detailed breakdown of several of the identical (or nearly identical) passages between the books. It’s pretty undeniable that she did take more than just vague themes from Hassett’s book. Obviously when you’re writing about a disease you’re going to cover similar topics as others who’ve also written about it. But there are unique concepts and phrasing that pepper both books. And there are too many of them for it to be the world’s craziest coincidence. Hasselbeck may be off the hook legally, but that doesn’t mean she’s off the hook ethically.

Here’s Elisabeth Hasselbeck at Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World Gala in New York City on May 5th. Images thanks to WENN.com .
time 100 gala inside arrival 3 050509

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19 Responses to “Judge dismisses plagiarism suit against Elisabeth Hasselbeck”

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  1. TwinkleToes says:

    Now that header shot is some duckface, right there.


    Jaybird, this site has you written all over it. I could see you appreciating this.

  2. Huma says:

    Statute of limitations is there for a reason. File on time, geniuses! Otherwise you lose your claim. IT’S NOT HARD.

  3. Kayleigh says:

    That is a amazing web site! Who said “Oh yeah! That’s a good one!” for the cover of this book anyways? A 14 year old girl?

  4. Trillion says:

    I thought you had to be smart to be lawyer!

  5. Praise St. Angie! says:

    ugh…now she’s going to go on and on about how she’s been “vindicated” when all she did was get off on technicality.

    hey liz, you’re STILL a thief!

  6. WTF?!? says:

    No, Trillion, sadly you just have to graduate from law school.
    I hate Hasselback, and I HATE duckface. Thanks for the link, TwinkleToes.

  7. Jeri says:

    Hasselbeck must have paid her off/settled in Hollywood speak.

  8. margo says:

    ick–Elizabitch is a phony in real life too!

    From reality t.v-(Survivor), srsly i think she got naked for a chocolate bar on that show, although I may be mistaken. Self righteous, condescending, Twat–she is what’s wrong with this country–wants to make people’s decisions for them-gay marriage?-who cares? Let the gays be just as miserable as us married heteros!

    Now a thief too! She is a simple minded hypocrite–no likey

  9. Who Cares says:

    I like her. I don’t always agree with her, but I like how she doesn’t let Behar-big mouth bitch talk over her and interrupt her.

  10. Buzzaroo says:

    Wow, she looks really ugly in that photo with her husband.

    I guess it is true what Kate Moss said – beauty radiates from inside of us – that must be why she is completely without it.

  11. martha says:

    She looks like Star Jones in that pic.

  12. Then Again.... says:

    The lawyer was THIS close to winning against this idiot!

    I can’t believe it!

  13. DD says:

    why am I not surprised this fake, annoying self rightous ***** would do something like that.

  14. t says:

    I followed the link in the E! story to the USA Today story E! was summarizing. The judge never said anything like “… portions of Hassett’s dietary prose were definitely lifted for Hasselbeck’s book” in the article. In fact, there are no quotes from the judge in the article. The only one quoted is Susan Hassett’s lawyer.

    USA Today reports “Richard Cunha, a lawyer who has represented Hassett, said Monday that while he still believed there were instances of plagiarism, he wasn’t sure they were egregious enough for his client to recover money damages.”

    So the woman’s own lawyer didn’t think she had a strong enough case and dropped it. And though I am not a lawyer, unless he had stronger evidence than what he sent to TMZ, I agree.

  15. The Old KC says:

    TwinkleToes – great site! Unfortunately this is one of those cases in which what’s right in accordance with the law isn’t necessarily what’s ethical. Ethics != law sometimes. Didn’t change my opinion of Elisabeth either way though – she’s a hypocrite any way you slice it.

  16. The Old KC says:

    BTW I love the super-tight cords in her neck in the shot with her hubby – think she’s anal at all? I’m guessing she is a hot mess on wheels…wound up so tight it probably takes her about 10 Xanax to get to sleep at night.

  17. katyusha says:

    Twinkle Toes, thank you for introducing me to that site. Its captions are some of the funniest sh*t I’ve seen.

    It’s akin to awkwardfamilyphotos.com.

  18. Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

    I don’t see the quotation here, but I do remember an instance in which a grammatical error was carried over from one book to the next. I’m not a lawyer, but that’s some nebulous-looking junk as far as I can tell.

  19. Good to know that Elisabeth Hasselbeck, a Celiac Disease holder is out of plagiarism. And that’s a good lawyer! Your book The G-Free Diet: A Gluten-Free Survival Guide should help lots of readers.