Lance Armstrong Associates Banned, Lance Battles On

Yesterday was a bad day for Lance Armstrong in federal court in Austin, Texas. The judge dismissed his request for a temporary injunction preventing the USADA from forcing him to choose between participating in arbitration, where he almost certainly will be permanently banned from cycling and stripping him of his titles, or not participating and accepting the sanctions it doles out. (Details below the fold.) But the Judge said he could refile and today he did just that. (Details of the new suit are also below.)

As Armstrong battles on, today the USADA banned three of his associates for life for drug violations. They include former staff members and consultants on the cyclist’s winning Tour de France teams for drug violations.

Luis Garcia del Moral was a team doctor; Michele Ferrari was a consulting doctor; and Jose “Pepe” Marti (team trainer) worked for Armstrong’s U.S. Postal Service and Discovery Channel squads. All had been accused by USADA of participating in a vast doping conspiracy on those teams during part or all of Armstrong’s seven Tour victories from 1999-2005.


Regarding the injunction request refiled today:

Armstrong’s attorneys refiled a 25-page suit arguing that USADA violates athletes’ constitutional rights, that the agency doesn’t have the jurisdiction to bring the charges and that it may have violated federal law in its investigation.

Armstrong wants the court to rule by Saturday, his deadline to either accept USADA’s charges and sanctions or send his case to arbitration.

Let's back up to yesterday. The shorter version: Lance Armstrong's Washington, D.C. lawyers got a message from federal judge Sam Sparks in Austin: Don't mess with Texas.

Just hours after filing an 112 page complaint, a 14 page motion for temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction with a 57 page brief and a 12 page affidavit with 30 exhibits, Judge Sparks dismissed his complaint and request for temporary injunction, in a 3 page order excoriating the lawyers for what, in his opinion, was a blatant violation of the federal rules of civil procedure which require pleadings to be concise and clear.

Judge Sparks told Armstrong's lawyers (from the Washington law firms of Patton Boggs and Williams and Connelly, and a local counsel):

Contrary to Armstrong's apparent belief, pleadings filed in the United States District Courts are not press releases, internet blogs, or pieces of investigative journalism. All parties, and their lawyers, are expected to comply with the rules of this Court, and face potential sanctions if they do not.

.... This Court is not inclined to indulge Armstrong's desire for publicity, self aggrandizement or vilification of Defendants, by sifting through eighty mostly unnecessary pages in search of the few kernels of factual material relevant to his claims.

The judge gave Armstrong's lawyers 20 days to refile their pleadings. He said his order was not a ruling on whether Armstrong has a a valid claim:

The Court expresses no opinion whether Armstrong actually has a legally cognizable claim against Defendants; it concludes only that his current pleadings are insufficient under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

So today, Armstrong's legal team regrouped and reduced its Complaint and Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Injunctive Relief to a mere 25 pages, leaving out the glorified details of Armstrong's accomplishments and the bashing of the other side.

I think his allegations are worthy of consideration. From today's revised pleading (available on PACER:)

First: the basics:

On June 12, 2012 Mr. Armstrong received notice of a request sent by Defendants to the USADA Anti-Doping Review Board to authorize formal action against Mr. Armstrong and five other individuals for alleged anti-doping violations over a 14-year period from 1998 through the present, as well as allegations about events prior to 1996, more than sixteen years ago. Defendants’ allegations lacked specificity of precise dates or years. Defendants claim that violations occurred over the course of an extraordinarily broad, sixteen-year period that stretches from the present to before 1996. Alleged violations involve four different teams...

On his claim for a Declaratory Judgment:

16. Throughout his twenty-plus year professional career, Mr. Armstrong has been subjected to 500 to 600 drug tests without a single positive test. Mr. Armstrong’s drug testing has included urine testing and blood testing. These tests have been conducted by a variety of anti-doping agencies, including USADA. These agencies have tested for substances professional athletes are banned from using, including erythropoetin (“EPO”), anabolic steroids, and testosterone.

17. Defendants now seek to ban Mr. Armstrong from competitive sports for the rest of his life and to strip him of his seven Tour de France titles based, not on positive drug tests, but instead on what is referred to as a “non-analytical positive” —i.e. allegations not supported by a positive drug test.

18. USADA’s Review Board issued a conclusory approval of the charges on June 27, 2012, and Defendants’ charging letter was issued on June 28, 2012.

19. Defendants’ charging letter of June 28, 2012 advised Mr. Armstrong that he must elect either to accept Defendants’ sanctions, or be forced to agree to proceed to arbitration with USADA. Those sanctions include a lifetime ban on his participation in elite international and domestic competitive sports and the stripping of his cycling achievements, as well as all awards and prizes associated therewith. If Mr. Armstrong does not agree to arbitration, then Defendants will automatically and unilaterally impose
these sanctions.

20. Defendants sent a copy of the June 12, 2012 notice of charges to the WTC, and, as they intended, Mr. Armstrong was suspended from competing in WTC events, including a June 24, 2012 triathlon in France for which Mr. Armstrong was training. Also, as Defendants were aware and intended, Mr. Armstrong will be banned from further WTC competitions if USADA’s sanctions are imposed.

On no jurisdiction:

23. Defendants purport to charge, and exercise jurisdiction over, Mr. Armstrong pursuant to the UCI Anti-Doping Rules (“UCI ADR”) in effect during the period between 1999 and 2012.

24. Under the UCI ADR, however, Defendants have no jurisdiction to assert the charges brought against Mr. Armstrong, and Defendants have no agreement to arbitrate these disciplinary proceedings with Mr. Armstrong.

On the Statute of Limitations:

[T]he charges contravene USADA’s statute of limitations. Because the charges were issued on June 28, 2012, the eight-year limitations period extends to June 28, 2004. Yet, Defendants charge conduct allegedly occurring long before the limitations period. It complains of doping “from before 1998” or “through 1996,” and a cover up “[b]eginning in 1999.”

On Improper Inducements:

In addition, on information and belief, Defendants have provided improper inducements to witnesses, in violation of the governing rules. The WADA Code requires that any reduction of an athlete’s period of ineligibility must take place only after charges have been brought and the period of ineligibility has been determined, and after affording UCI its notice and appeal rights.

On the State Action claim:

35. Defendants’ charges against Mr. Armstrong were brought based on the work of a joint investigation of alleged doping in cycling by USADA, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), the DOJ’s Office of Criminal Investigation, the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”), and the United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General. All five agencies worked hand-in-hand during the investigation.

...38. In February 2012, DOJ announced that it had ended its investigation of Mr. Armstrong and would not bring criminal charges.

39. Four months later, Defendants announced its current charges against Mr. Armstrong. Upon information and belief, Defendants are using the evidence they gathered along with the FBI, FDA, DOJ and their investigators and prosecutors in the course of a grand jury investigation against Mr. Armstrong.

On Due Process:

40. Defendants’ arbitration process, which was designed primarily for handling cases involving positive test results, does not afford requisite due process for a situation like this one, in which there is no positive test result, and where Defendants have worked in concert with the United States government to investigate the athlete.

41. In this unique case, Defendants seek to leverage the government’s unparalleled financial and investigative resources to charge Mr. Armstrong and potentially strip him of his livelihood and the considerable awards he has earned. It would deprive Mr. Armstrong of these vital liberty and property rights without the basic procedural protections to which any defendant is entitled in a court proceeding—or even in a traditional arbitration conducted according to the rules of the American Arbitration Association.

On the Hobson's Choice he faces:

51. Defendants’ June 28 charge now seeks to require Mr. Armstrong to make a Hobson’s Choice: agree (even though there exists no agreement between Armstrong and USADA) to participate in an arbitration hearing concerning charges spanning at least 16 years over which USADA has no jurisdiction, and in a forum lacking critical due process guarantees that is certain to result in an adverse decision, and thereby forfeit his claim that the tribunal has no jurisdiction, and allow the result to be appealed to another infirm forum over which USADA will argue United States courts lack jurisdiction, or forgo any type of hearing at all and accept severe sanctions.

Either choice is certain to result in Mr. Armstrong incurring a lifetime suspension from international and elite domestic competition, the stripping of his seven Tour de France titles, and irreparable reputational damage.

Bottom line: Lance Armstrong may go down, but he's not going without a fight and he's determined to get his version out there. Since I think he makes some good arguments, I'm happy to oblige.

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  • Display: Sort:
    "This Court is not inclined to indulge" (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 11:34:27 AM EST
    This Court is not inclined to indulge Armstrong's desire for publicity, self aggrandizement
    Ya, cuz federal judge Sam Sparks is the only one who's desire for publicity and self aggrandizement is allowed to be appeased here.

    i believe it is a fait accompli, (none / 0) (#1)
    by cpinva on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 01:09:55 AM EST
    simply looking for place to put it.

    Lance Armstrong may go down

    and while he's going down with a fight, he's also being deprived of the ability to compete, the ultimate goal of the defendent. i have no idea if mr. armstrong used banned substances or not (though not one positive test result seems to argue against it), but clearly, he irked someone.

    Has it always been this way (none / 0) (#3)
    by sj on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 09:53:19 AM EST
    and we just didn't know because there were no internets?
    but clearly, he irked someone.
    Lance Armstrong, Kim DotCom, John Edwards, Julian Assange -- those are all people whose actions have been held to some sort of "higher" standard than just about any of their peers.  They've all been subjected to WTF style prosecution/persecution for actions that don't raise a ripple from someone else.

    And y'all spare me the whole Assange "but he put people in danger" cr@p.  The US government had a chance to review and redact what he was going to make public and they didn't even bother.


    Yes, Lance pissed off the wrong people. This is (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Angel on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 11:34:32 AM EST
    a vendetta and nothing more.  He's been tested more than any human being in history.  They come to his door at 3 am and tell him to pee, or they take his blood.  It's absurd.  

    er... I believe YOU (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by sj on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 11:45:44 AM EST
    not I believe WHO.  LOL

    I believe who (none / 0) (#9)
    by sj on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 11:43:17 AM EST
    But who the he!! are these "wrong people" that are in a position to stage these vendettas?  And have they always existed and we just didn't know (which I suspect is the case)?

    Well, it began with the French because they (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Angel on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 11:59:25 AM EST
    hated Lance's success.  Then Notivzky (all-around hater) got involved and it cascaded from there, IMO.

    By the way - the French also took a hair sample - (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Angel on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 12:03:52 PM EST
    a hair sample! from Lance in 2009.  That's never happened to anyone else to my knowledge.  And the hair sample was negative for traces of any drugs yet they wanted to charge him with something anyway.  I'm telling you, they despise him.  

    Assange is wanted (none / 0) (#13)
    by SuzieTampa on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 12:41:16 PM EST
    for questioning in regard to accusations of sexual assault. I don't see this as a higher standard than what another man in Sweden might face.

    I thought this was the Armstrong thread. (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by Angel on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 02:31:48 PM EST
    You just keep telling yourself that (none / 0) (#14)
    by sj on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 12:41:55 PM EST
    But stop telling me.

    Angel, SJ brought up Assange (none / 0) (#17)
    by SuzieTampa on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 04:17:08 PM EST
    SJ, I don't think I've ever told you that before.

    No, you haven't. That's true (none / 0) (#18)
    by sj on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 04:58:49 PM EST
    But that wasn't the point of my original comment.  That point essentially was targeted harassment for certain individuals because "someone" important has been irked.  

    I tried to vaccinate it against a derailment off-topic, but the vaccination was too narrowly defined.  I don't want to argue Assange here.  The topic is Armstrong.  Who has most certainly been singled out for harassment.  But he is definitely not the only one.


    You still have to (none / 0) (#2)
    by Repack Rider on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 01:36:50 AM EST
    you still have to ride the bike.

    USDAA? USADA? (none / 0) (#4)
    by unitron on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 10:10:10 AM EST
    Did someone merge the Ag Department with Food and Drug while I wasn't looking?

    Agencies you're going to call by their acronyms and people to whom your going to refer by last name only later in an article should have full name (and title) given the first time mentioned.

    U S Dog Agility Association (none / 0) (#5)
    by nycstray on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 10:25:29 AM EST
    Sorry, couldn't resist :) Can't remember the name of the agency that's going after him this time . . .

    US Anti-Doping Agency n/t (none / 0) (#6)
    by nycstray on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 10:29:42 AM EST
    Link to Armstrong's Amended Compaint (none / 0) (#16)
    by Michael Masinter on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 03:07:23 PM EST
    Lance (none / 0) (#19)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 08:54:48 PM EST
    Built his persona on being clean.  He brought this on himself.

    No, Lance built his persona on (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Angel on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 09:53:24 PM EST
    being the best.  These people are jealous of his success and are bound and determined to bring him down any way possible.  

    Every athlete in sports (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 11:24:11 PM EST
    has built their persona on being clean.

    The bigger your persona, the more prying eyes there are on how clean you are...


    Probably not during the Barry Bonds/ (none / 0) (#22)
    by oculus on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 11:27:32 PM EST
    Sammy Sosa/Mark McGuire era of MLB though.  

    Fair enough. (none / 0) (#23)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 11:41:51 PM EST
    And the negative drug tests (none / 0) (#24)
    by PatHat on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 01:34:49 PM EST
    prove that he has not been clean? I don't understand.