Nine months after filing an initial lawsuit against Tyndale House Publishers, the subject of the 2010 bestselling book The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven has refiled a complaint against the Christian publisher.
Alex Malarkey was named co-author (with his father Kevin) of The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven, which was published by Tyndale and portrayed his alleged life-after-death experience following a traffic accident that left him severely paralyzed. The book sold thousands of copies before Malarkey recanted the story and named his father as the sole author in 2015. Shortly thereafter, Tyndale pulled the title from shelves.
Malarkey, now 20, initially filed a lawsuit against Tyndale in DuPage County, Ill. on April 9 which sought punitive damages for defamation, deceptive trade practices, intrusion upon the seclusion of another, and four other charges. However, a circuit judge dismissed five of the seven counts “to one extent or another,” Malarkey’s attorney, Scott Miller of Gibbs Law Firm P.A., told PW.
For example, the defamation claim was thrown out due to a statute of limitation, according to Miller. Also, since injunctions cannot be issued for past conduct, the judge dismissed charges of deceptive trade practices.
Today, Malarkey is suing the publisher for appropriation, publicity given to private life, and financial exploitation of a person with a disability. “We refiled three counts on December 28,” said Miller. “Before the end of January we will have a status conference. We will go forward and I think we will prevail.”
The latest proceedings were filed in the circuit court of DuPage County, Ill. In response to the first lawsuit, Tyndale House called it "a terribly unfortunate situation" and claims to have "paid all royalties that were due under the terms of our contract on his book."