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Judgement means Lance Armstrong case is set to go to jury trial

Jack Elton-Walters
14 Feb 2017

Lance Armstrong's legal team had tried to get the case dismissed

In a significant defeat for Lance Armstrong, a Washington DC judge has dismissed the disgraced cyclist's attempts to have the $100 million lawsuit against him thrown out. The judgement means the case will move to trial by jury. 

The case, which was brought by Armstrong's former teammate Floyd Landis and the US federal government, alleges that Armstrong and his team's owner Tailwind Sports, along with team directeur sportif Johan Bruyneel, violated the False Claims Act (FCA).

They are accused of doing so by collecting sponsorship from the US Postal Service (USPS) 'while actively concealing the team’s violations of the agreements’ anti-doping provisions.'

As the initiator of the case, Landis - himself a confessed doper - could be in line for 25% of any payment. 

The government's motion sets the amount at $32.3 million, a figure equivalent to the sponsorship paid by the governmental organisation during its tenure as lead sponsor between 2000 and 2004. 

The sum of nearly $100 million is the amount that a jury could decide Armstrong and Tailwind should pay in damages for violating the FCA.

The defendant's legal team had tried to have the case dismissed by claiming that there had been minimal impact on the USPS brand.

However, the government presented evidence attributing negative messages about USPS to Armstrong's doping and subsequent fall from grace.

'Because the government has offered evidence that Armstrong withheld information about the team’s doping and use of [performance-enhancing drugs],' US District Judge Christopher Cooper wrote, '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's judgement opened the route to trial by jury. 

Armstrong has been serving a lifetime ban from cycling since USADA's reasoned decision in 2012. As a result he was stripped of his seven Tour de France 'wins'.

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