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Lance Armstrong Lawsuit by USPS for $100M to Go to Trial

Image: Lance Armstrong Lawsuit by USPS for $100M to Go to Trial

(Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 14 Feb 2017 06:44 AM

The Lance Armstrong lawsuit by the U.S. Postal Service seeking $100 million after sponsoring the disgraced former cycling champion will go to trial after a federal judge refused to dismiss the case.

U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper in Washington, D.C. cleared the way for the federal government's case to move forward in an attempt to collect money for lost promotional value after Armstrong admitted to doping while sponsored by the USPS, said USA Today.

The Postal Service claimed it paid $32.3 million to sponsor Armstrong's cycling team from 2000 to 2004, wrote USA Today. Officials charged, according to the newspaper, that it did not know at the time that the team was violating its sponsorship contract by using banned drugs and blood transfusions to cheat in races.

The federal government is asking for triple damages for sponsorship of Armstrong's U.S. Postal Service Pro Cycling Team, or $100 million, under the False Claims Act, said the Washington Post.

David M. Finkelstein, an attorney in the Justice Department's civil fraud section, said the Postal Service had not studied the financial impact after Armstrong first admitted the doping in January 2013 during an interview with Oprah Winfrey.

Finkelstein added, though, that other sponsors quickly abandoned him at the time, showing that his endorsement had no value. Cooper ruled that a jury should determine the actual impact, noted USA Today.

"The court concludes that the monetary amount of the benefits USPS received is not sufficiently quantifiable to keep any reasonable juror from finding that the agency suffered a net loss on the sponsorship, especially if one considers the adverse effect on the Postal Service's revenues and brand value that may have resulted from the negative publicity surrounding the subsequent investigations of Armstrong's doping and his widely publicized confession."

"Determination of damages must therefore be left to a jury. Accordingly, the court declines to grant Armstrong summary judgment on damages and will set the case for trial."

Armstrong's attorneys charged, according to the Post, that the postal service received more in value from the team's sponsorship and that it suffered no damages.

"As the court's opinion reveals, there is no actual evidence of any quantifiable financial harm to the USPS," said Elliot R. Peters, lead attorney for Armstrong. "So the government may now proceed to a trial that, as a practical matter, it cannot win."

The lawsuit was originally filed by Armstrong's former U.S. Postal Service teammate Floyd Landis in 2010 and the federal government joined it in 2013 after Armstrong publicly admitted he cheated to win the Tour de France seven times from 1999-2005, said The Associated Press. He was stripped of those titles and banned from competition for life.

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The Lance Armstrong lawsuit by the U.S. Postal Service seeking $100 million after sponsoring the disgraced former cycling champion will go to trial after a federal judge refused to dismiss the case.
lance armstrong, lawsuit, usps
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2017-44-14
Tuesday, 14 Feb 2017 06:44 AM
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