Federal Judge criticizes Lance Armstrong
by Marty Carlson
On Friday former cyclist champion Lance Armstrong was criticized by a federal judge in his responses to the feds. The judge stated he has an ongoing compliance failure in his obligations in the government $100 million lawsuit against him.
Judge Christopher Cooper of the US District Court ordered Armstrong to be in compliance by next week’s a risk having certain evidence excluded at trial.
Written questions submitted by the government to Armstrong’s attorneys received a response basically telling them to go find the answers themselves.
The judge wrote in his ruling Friday that Armstrong should not waste the government’s time by saying where the information could be found instead of just supplying it.
This ruling was the request of the attorneys for the government’s civil fraud case against Armstrong which has been in litigation since 2013, and on behalf of the United States Postal Service. USPS paid over $32 million to sponsor Armstrong cycling team from 2002 2004, and now wants his money back claiming they were deceived by Armstrong’s lies about his doping. The government alleges violations by the cycling team during its sponsorship contract after was revealed they were doping and they submitted false claims for payment while in violation of the contract. Damages could be nearly $100 million under the false claims act.
Armstrong’s attorneys had asked Cooper last month to throw out the case with the summary judgment ruling. They claim the government cases worthless because of the United States Postal Service was not damaged by Armstrong doping and received publicity and other benefits from that sponsorship that was far more valuable than the $32 million cost.
The government said Armstrong some written questions, in his effort to gather evidence, asking him to spell out in detail about the benefits that he had received. One of the inquiries, for example, asked him to identify the value the USPS received in connection was sponsoring his team.
But instead of giving a detailed response, the attorneys replied to the government by referring to various documents that included a report by an expert that was hired by Armstrong’s attorneys to calculate the benefits he USPS received. That report done by Doug Kidder estimated the USPS received the least $333 million in benefits in that sponsorship.
Lance Armstrong’s attorneys have argued that the services he and his partners sold the USPS for that $32 million were actually worth hundreds of millions of dollars. The court was asked by Armstrong to find in a summary judgment the value of those services resulted in $160 million to USPS. Four but for nearly a year attorneys for Armstrong have refuse to respond to interrogatories looking for the identification of and factual bases for those benefit he claims USPS received. Armstrong’s reluctance to answer these can tend to assert interrogatory, the government claims, prejudices United States ability to oppose any motion for summary judgment and to present history of damages in the case.
Elliot peters, Armstrong’s attorney, replied on May 11, saying Armstrong had complied and said the government was trying to force them to what he called engage in make work by continuing to ask for more responses. The government’s request for more information should not be tolerated he wrote.
Obviously the judge disagreed.
Armstrong now 44, has been banned from cycling and stripped of all of his titles in the Tour de France. Having denying the doping charges for more than a decade, he finally came clean in January 2013. The government filed suit soon after that, and joined another lawsuit that was originally filed under seal in 2010 by Floyd Landis, Armstrong’s former teammate.
As a whistleblower who brought the case, slander stand to get a cut of the damages of the government prevails.