Armstrong Can’t Escape DOJ Fraud Suit
On Thursday June 19, 2014, Judge Robert Wilkins of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled on Lance Armstrong’s motion to dismiss the fraud case he is facing against the US Department of Justice. In an 81 page ruling, Judge Wilkins denied Armstrong’s request without prejudice.
Armstrong argued that the case should be dismissed on two grounds. First, he argued the six-year statute of limitations on bringing the suit had run. He also argued the government knew he was using the banned substances, but did not stop supporting him because of the benefit derived from his performance. Judge Wilkins did not buy either of Armstrong’s arguments. Judge Wilkins did concede that the government may be in possession of documents that suggests its knowledge of Armstrong’s drug use, but mere allegations are simply not enough to dismiss this lawsuit.
Armstrong’s former teammate, Floyd Landis brought the original suit under the Fair Claims Act for breach of contract with the US Postal Service, whom Armstrong had accepted sponsorship money from under the conditions that he and the rest of the cycling team participate fairly. The US Department of Justice joined the suit in 2013 after Armstrong admitted, during an interview with Oprah Winfrey, to using performance enhancing drugs. The US DOJ seeks $100 million and potentially more in damages. Armstrong, having admitted to doping, will argue that the US Postal Service did not suffer any economic harm from his use of banned substances and that Postal Service studies have shown it benefitted more than $100 million from Armstrong’s sponsorship regardless of his drug use.