On August 20, 2012, U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks of the Western District of Texas threw out a suit brought by renowned cyclist Lance Armstrong against the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (“USADA”), who claims that the USADA’s arbitration procedures would deny him due process of law. The allegations brought by the USADA against Armstrong include accusations of performance enhancing drug use in violation of anti-doping rules, charges which could strip him of his seven Tour-de-France titles. A nearly identical suit brought by Armstrong was dismissed without prejudice in July, with the court allowing Armstrong to re-plead the case in an amended complaint.
However, in dismissing the case, Judge Sparks held that the court did not have the jurisdiction to intervene in the proceedings, pointing to an arbitration agreement signed by Armstrong which precluded the court’s involvement in the dispute resolution process. He also pointed to the substantive guidelines of the arbitration proceedings, noting that Armstrong was allowed to present evidence to rebut the charges against him, and had “received all the process he is due at this time.” Still, the Judge made sure to indicate his skepticism over the late timing and substance of the charges against Armstrong, stating “[a]s mystifying as the USADA”s election to proceed at this date and in this manner may be, it is equally perplexing that these three [agencies] are apparently unable to work together to accomplish their shared goal – the regulation and promotion of cycling.”
USADA’s CEO Travis Tygart has insisted that the arbitration proceedings will be administered publicly and in a fair manner, promising that a panel of independent arbitrators – not arguably biased agency members – will determine the outcome of Armstrong’s case.