Showing posts with label Armstrong. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Armstrong. Show all posts

Friday, February 22, 2013

Update - DOJ Will Join Qui Tam Filed Against Lance Armstrong

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced today that it will intervene in the qui tam False Claims Act suit filed by relator Floyd Landis against Lance Armstrong and others: United States ex rel. Landis v. Tailwind Sports Corporation, et al.  According to the DOJ press release, the Government "notified the court that it was joining the lawsuit’s allegations as to Armstrong, Bruyneel, and Tailwind" and that it will file a formal complaint within 60 days.  DOJ, however, stated that it will not be intervening as to all the defendants named in the case.  The U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, Ronald C. Machen Jr., stated:  “Lance Armstrong and his cycling team took more than $30 million from the U.S. Postal Service based on their contractual promise to play fair and abide by the rules – including the rules against doping . . . . . The Postal Service has now seen its sponsorship unfairly associated with what has been described as ‘the most sophisticated, professionalized, and successful doping program that sport has ever seen.’ This lawsuit is designed to help the Postal Service recoup the tens of millions of dollars it paid out to the Tailwind cycling team based on years of broken promises. In today’s economic climate, the U.S. Postal Service is simply not in a position to allow Lance Armstrong or any of the other defendants to walk away with the tens of millions of dollars they illegitimately procured.”

The DOJ press release announcing its decision to intervene may be found here.

A. Brian Albritton
February 22, 2013

NBC Reports That DOJ Will Intervene Today in Qui Tam Against Lance Armstrong

NBC News along with other sources reports on its website that U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) will notify the Court today that it is intervening in the qui tam/False Claims Act suit brought by relator and ex-teamate Floyd Landis against Lance Armstrong and other defendants.

The Landis qui tam against Armstrong and others was unsealed by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia just last month.  As previously featured here in the blog, the Wall Street Journal reported in mid-January 2013 that DOJ officials had recommended that the Government intervene.

NBC reports that Armstrong's attorney Robert Luskin has released a statement saying, in effect that the Postal Service had no losses deserving of compensation: "Lance and his representatives worked constructively over these last weeks with federal lawyers to resolve this case fairly, but those talks failed because we disagree about whether the Postal Service was damaged . . .The Postal's Services own studies show that the Service benefited tremendously from its sponsorship -- benefits totaling more than $100 million."

A. Brian Albritton
February 22, 2013

Friday, January 18, 2013

DOJ Officials Reportedly Recommended Intervening in Qui Tam Against Lance Armstrong

The Wall Street Journal reports that U.S. Department of Justice "officials recommended joining" the sealed qui tam False Claims Act filed against former cyclist Lance Armstrong by his former teammate, Floyd Landis. Mr. Landis was the Tour de France winner in 2006, but was stripped of his title due to doping charges.

Though widely discussed in the press, the qui tam suit has not been unsealed, and neither DOJ nor Landis have confirmed its existence. The Wall Street Journal reports that a source who has seen the suit states that Landis alleges that Armstrong and team managers of the U.S. Postal Cycling Team "defrauded the U.S. government when they accepted money from the U.S. Postal Service." From what can be gleaned, the suit appears to be based on a false certification theory because the U.S. Postal Team contract "required that the team refrain from using performance enhancing drugs." Landis and other former team members are alleged to have testified that "Armstrong was at the center of a sophisticated doping ring and knowingly flouted the contract." The Journal reports further that the U.S. Postal Team received $30.6 million in sponsorship funds from the Postal Service, and the contract is reported to have provided that "negative publicity due to alleged possession, use or sale of banned substances by riders or team personnel would constitute an event of default as would a failure to take action if a rider violates a morals or drug clause."

According to the Wall Street Journal, Armstrong's legal team has been in settlement negotiations" with DOJ, but have been unable to reach an agreement thus far. Along with Armstrong, Landis also allegedly sued Johan Bruyneel, the U.S. Postal Team's director, and Thom Weisel, the former chair of the management company that owned the U.S. Postal Cycling Team.

This is an interesting suit. On the one hand, DOJ purportedly alleges that the Postal Service was defrauded because the Team promised not to let cyclists dope and failed to do so, while continuing to collect sponsorship money. On the other hand, the events at issue occurred many years ago -- the Postal Service sponsorship of the team ended in 2004 -- and given the success of the Team at the time, the Postal Service reaped the benefits and good will of its sponsorship during that period. According to U.S. ex rel Davis v. District of Columbia, did the government in fact receive the benefit of its bargain at the time?

A. Brian Albritton
January 17, 2013

False Claims Act Complaint Against Armstrong Unsealed

Kudos to the Pietragallo firm blog that first posted the Landis qui tam/False Claims Act Complaint against Lance Armstrong:  US ex rel Floyd Landis v. Tailwind Sports Corporation, et al, Case 1:0-cv-976 (D. D.C.).  Here is the complaint.  The complaint does not reflect that the U.S. Department of Justice has intervened.    Along with Lance Armstrong, the complaint lists 8 other defendants, including unidentified defendants, "Does 1 -50."

A. Brian Albritton
January 18, 2013