The federal government’s $100 million lawsuit against Lance Armstrong will proceed to trial after a federal judge on Monday denied Armstrong’s request to throw the case out of court.
The decision by U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper marks a significant defeat for Armstrong, who had asked Cooper to dismiss the case with a summary judgment ruling. Instead, Cooper sided with the federal government, which is suing Armstrong on behalf of the U.S. Postal Service and is seeking nearly $100 million in damages.
The Postal Service paid $32.3 million to sponsor Armstrong’s cycling team from 2000 to 2004 and said it wouldn’t have paid that if it had known the team was violating its sponsorship contract by using banned drugs and blood transfusions to cheat in races. The government now wants that money back and could have that amount tripled under the under the False Claims Act, with Armstrong possibly on the hook for all of it.
“Because the government has offered evidence that Armstrong withheld information about the team’s doping and use of (performance-enhancing drugs) and that the anti-doping provisions of the sponsorship agreements were material to USPS’s decision to continue the sponsorship and make payments under the agreements, the Court must deny Armstrong’s motion for summary judgment on this issue,” Cooper wrote.
In Armstrong’s defense, his attorneys had argued that the USPS suffered no damages and received far more in value from the sponsorship than the $32.3 million it paid.
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SOURCE: Brent Schrotenboer
USA TODAY Sports