Lance Armstrong’s attempt to get a near-$100 million dollar lawsuit dismissed by the judge dealing with the case has failed and the Texan must now go under oath about doping during his career.
The case was started by former US Postal Service team-mate Floyd Landis and was later joined by the US Government’s Department of Justice.
It is based on claims of fraud, namely that Armstrong and others connected to the team willingly defrauded the US Postal Service – and thus the US taxpayer – by claiming to race clean while using banned drugs.
Under the triple damages law in place, if Armstrong and the others charged lose the case, they could be liable to pay damages of more than $96 million.
Earlier this month his lawyers attempted to have the case dismissed. The Washington federal judge dealing with the case, Robert Wilkins, stated that he would rule on the matter within a week; he has now done so, and has thrown out the attempts to dismiss.
Part of Armstrong’s argument for dismissal was based on his assertion that while the sponsorship agreement was in place, the US Postal Service didn’t investigate the allegations of doping made against the rider or the team.
However Judge Wilkins’s ruling referred to the 2000 agreement signed by the team’s owners when the US Postal Service decided to prolong its earlier sponsorship commitment.
In that agreement, Wilkins’ ruling notes that ‘the Company represents that each rider on the Team has a morals and drug clause that allows the Company to suspend or terminate the rider for cause which shall include items such as (1) conviction of a felony; (2) acts that require the Team to suspend or terminate a rider under the applicable rules of the [UCI, FICP, USPCF, IOC, IACF, and USCF] and all other applicable governing organizations; (3) failure to pass drug or medical tests; (4) inappropriate drug conduct prejudicial to the Team, or the Postal Service, which is in violation of Team rules or commonly accepted standards of morality; and (5) gross neglect of the rider’s duty.’
He also noted that ‘the 2000 sponsorship agreement also retained the requirement from the 1995 agreement that “the team adhere to the rules of the UCI, IOC, and the other bodies that govern international cycling.”
Wilkins noted that whenever Armstrong or the team itself had been accused of doping, they strenuously denied the claims.
Armstrong will now go under oath for the second time this month. He was previously deposed on June 13 in the separate SCA Promotions case. The latter is an insurance company which agreed to cover the bonuses payable to Armstrong when he won his Tours, and which refused to pay out the 2004 and 2005 payments due to concerns about doping.
Armstrong and his lawyers took a case against SCA Promotions and during the course of that trial, the Texan gave a sworn deposition insisting he was a clean rider.
SCA Promotions eventually lost the case due to the lack of a clean competition stipulation written into the original contract.
After Armstrong admitted to Oprah Winfrey in January 2013 that he used banned substances, SCA Promotions launched a new case to try to reclaim the total of $12 million paid out in bonuses.