Published: Thu, February 16, 2017
Sport | By Noel Norman

United States government's $100 million lawsuit against Lance Armstrong set for trial

United States government's $100 million lawsuit against Lance Armstrong set for trial

It was initially reported that Armstrong asked U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper to dismiss the case with a summary judgment ruling, but instead the judge made a decision to favor the federal government who have sued the cyclist on behalf of the U.S. Postal Service.

U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper's ruling to send the case to trial stresses that the damages to USPS's public image need to be decided by a jury of the public.

Initially filed by Landis, the federal government "joined in 2013 after Armstrong publicly admitted he cheated to win the Tour de France seven times from 1999-2005", reports ABC News.

Lance Armstrong led the U.S. postal team to a number of Tour de France victories.

The lawsuit alleges Armstrong defrauded the United States Postal Service during its sponsorship of his cycling team during the late 1990s and 2000s.

The US Justice Department took up the case on behalf of the Postal Service in 2013 after the disgraced cyclist admitted using performance-enhancing drugs.

His personal story of recovering from testicular cancer that had spread to his brain, while forcefully denying persistent rumors of doping, had built his Lance Armstrong Foundation cancer charity into a $500 million global brand and turned him into a celebrity.

Armstrong has tried to have the case dropped, claiming that the sponsorship benefited the Postal Service and was worth more to USPS than the $32m it paid to his now disbanded team, Tailwind Sports Corporation.

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If a federal jury rules for the plaintiffs, the defendants would be on the hook for treble damages - three times the $33 million in alleged damages.

Lance Armstrong and his legal team have failed to stop a $100 million (£79m) "whistleblower" lawsuit against him.

Armstrong has steadfastly refused to settle the lawsuit, saying in December 2015 that he "is not in a position to cut any more checks" after settling two lawsuits over his Tour victory bonuses.

Armstrong sought to get a summary judgement on the case last April. It is seeking almost $100 million in damages.

Federal prosecutors declined to comment on the ruling Monday evening.

"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.

A trial date has not yet been set for the case.

On Monday, a federal judge opened the door for a government lawsuit to peddle its way to trial.

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