Lance Armstrong won dismissal of a lawsuit by buyers of FRS Co.’s energy drinks who claimed they wouldn’t have bought the product if they had known it wasn’t the “secret weapon” behind his Tour de France victories.
The consumers had been given a chance to fix flaws identified by a judge in their original complaint alleging they were duped into thinking that FRS’s drinks, rather than performance-enhancing drugs, were Armstrong’s secret weapon. U.S. District Judge Beverly Reid O’Connell in Los Angeles dismissed the case on March 21 after the plaintiffs, who said they will appeal her initial ruling, missed a deadline to file an amended complaint.
“The reasonable consumer would not make the inference that a healthy energy drink could be the proprietary reason a decorated cyclist achieves success,” O’Connell said in a Feb. 25 decision that allowed the plaintiffs to revise their original claims.
A record seven-time Tour de France winner from 1999 to 2005, Armstrong was stripped of the titles by the U.S. Anti- Doping Agency. The cyclist acknowledged in a television interview with Oprah Winfrey last year that he used a “cocktail” of testosterone, erythropoietin and blood transfusions throughout his career.
Michael Berman, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, didn’t immediately respond to a call to his office for comment on the ruling.
The same month that the Winfrey interview was broadcast, Armstrong was sued by buyers of his autobiography, “It’s Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life,” and a follow-up book, “Every Second Counts,” over claims that both were frauds. A federal judge in Sacramento, California, dismissed the claims in September 2013, saying the publishers couldn’t be sued because the content of the books is protected by the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment right to free speech.
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