Earlier this year, Lance Armstrong’s attorneys filed for Summary Judgment, which is a request for a an immediate favorable judgment to be issued without a trial. The matter at hand was a whistleblower lawsuit initiated in 2010 by one of Armstrong’s teammates, which claimed that Armstrong had defrauded the government by doping while being sponsored by the US Postal Service.
In April, Armstrong’s legal defense team claimed that, since the cyclist had not personally signed any of the sponsorship contracts, he couldn’t be held liable, and that USPS (United States Postal Service) had actually benefitted from the agreement in spite of the fallen athlete’s doping.
The saga of Lance Armstrong’s use of performance enhancing drugs has already made it into a movie by renowned director Stephen Frears (The Program, 2015), and it keeps attracting media attention. Frears, who did extensive research to make the film, has commented that doping is surprisingly common among top cyclists. But that is apparently not enough of an excuse for the US Justice Department, which joined in to prosecute the whistleblower lawsuit in 2013.
Government Offers List of Armstrong’s Dopes Du Jour Saying No-Value Brand
USPS paid Armstrong about $40 million in a sponsorship deal, and the government is seeking to recover the amount in its entirety, plus damages, which would make a total of $100 million. In response to Armstrong’s Summary Judgment filing seeking an immediate win, the government and Floyd Landis, the whistleblower, both filed lengthy documents categorically rejecting the notion that the case shouldn’t go to trial.
The document filed by the government offers details about Lance Armstrong’s doping, “Throughout his tenure as leader of the USPS team, Armstrong unlawfully boosted his performance using testosterone, cortisone, erythropoietin, human growth hormone, dexamethasone, synacthen, corticosteroids, calf’s blood extract, illicit blood transfusions, and more.”
The government’s legal team used no euphemisms to refer to the cyclist’s conduct, “Armstrong also abused his position and power to coerce his teammates to risk their own health and careers by cheating in order to enhance Armstrong’s legacy, status, and fortune. In short, the USPS paid more than $40 million to associate its brand with Lance Armstrong: American hero; instead, it unwittingly tied its brand to Lance Armstrong: doper, dealer, and liar. The latter, naturally, held no value to the USPS.”
Government Filing: No Benefit in $40 Million Paid for Link to Massive Sports Scandal
Contesting Armstrong’s lawyers’ views about how USPS may have still benefitted from the sponsorship agreement, the government attorneys stated, “No sponsor who knew the truth about how Armstrong achieved his apparent Tour de France victories would have paid any amount of money to sponsor him or his team.”
“In the final analysis, Armstrong induced the USPS to pay him and his associates more than $40 million by lying about his and the team’s doping, and the USPS is now publicly and indelibly linked to one of the biggest sports scandals in history. This clearly was not what the USPS bargained or paid for,” the government’s filing concluded.
Meanwhile, the whistleblower also filed a document, which condemns Armstrong’s behavior in a similar tone. “Had the USPS known that the team that bore its name was doping and cheating to win every race, it never would have sponsored the team in the first place, never would have paid the sponsorship fees, and never would have paid to set up chairs and tables and invite its potential clients to have some snacks and drinks while watching a cheating team race in USPS jerseys…
The simple reality is the team’s doping and cheating was a total breach of the Sponsorship Agreement and so antithetical to the entire purpose of the sponsorship that a jury could find that the Government received no value from the product delivered,” the whistleblower’s attorneys wrote.
Public Admission by Lance Armstrong Precludes Summary Judgement
Because Armstrong admitted to the doping publicly, including on national television, it seems very unlikely that the judge would take the Summary Judgment filing seriously. It is a fact that Armstrong received money from USPS, which he wouldn’t have received, had the doping been known at the time.
Whether USPS did benefit from the sponsorship deal is a more debatable issue. The only thing that is certain is that the athlete’s attorneys have been cornered by the government’s filing, and they are probably starting to feel like they are running out of options to prevent a financial catastrophe for America’s “most disliked athlete.”