The Texas State Supreme Court said Friday a sponsor that paid Lance Armstrong $12 million in bonus money can sue the disgraced cyclist to recover all of it.
Armstrong claimed during an arbitration in 2005 that doping allegations against him were false and he was the rightful winner of seven Tour de France titles.
The arbitration ruled that SCA Promotions couldn’t withhold or recoup bonuses for his 2002, 2003 and 2004 wins.
But last year, after Armstrong was stripped of his Tour de France titles and given a life ban from cycling for doping, he admitted using banned performance enhancing drugs.
Since then, Texas-based SCA has been trying to reclaim the bonus money from Armstrong and the parent company of his U.S. Postal Service cycling team, Tailwind Sports, along with legal fees and interest, Bicycling said.
With Friday’s Texas Supreme Court decision, Armstrong must now give a deposition under oath to SCA’s lawyers on June 12 in the company’s suit to overturn the arbitration and recover the money.
Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.
While I am not a huge fan of the TX State Supreme Court, in this instance it appears that made the correct decision legally and ethically. It is beyond peradventure but that a person should not reap benefits for unethical behavior, and Armstrong's repeated and consistent unethical behavior is a matter of record, as are the many benefits and highbrow lifestyle he was able to enjoy as a result of his drug-fueled athletic successes.
Armstrong's unethical activities extended beyond merely doping himself. He doped repeatedly. He managed, aided and abetted the doping of others. He lied about all the doping activities in which he was involved.
In addition to the doping, Armstrong bullied, strong-armed and intimidated anyone who described, or said they would describe, Armstrong as anything other than a real-life superhero athlete and medical miracle because he "survived cancer" and was a world-class athlete. That he had a team Armstrong that supported and aided him in his relentless attacks could classify Armstrong as a racketeer.
In fact, Armstrong is such a dope that he continued to dope even after suffering testicular cancer that could have been caused by hormones with which he doped himself. He even used his cancer as logical justification as to why he would not have doped in the first place. As a relative of a cancer patient, Armstrong's using his cancer as a weapon in his non-doping defense arsenal, it is the latter that I deem the most unethical, even though it is no more than a mere false description of facts and events.
Armstrong is now the poster child for poor sportsmanship, illegal activities, and all-around villainy. The TX State Supreme Court decision and its manifestations will cause Armstrong additional shame, stress, humiliation and indebtedness. With luck this will prevent those considering taking a road similar to Armstrong's, in whatever their field of endeavor, from following his lead.
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