The Lance Armstrong doping scandal was one of those things that shook the entire sports world. Armstrong was world-renowned as one of the best bicyclists of all time -- until it was discovered that nearly all of his accolades were the product of performance enhancing drugs (PEDs), commonly referred to as steroids, or doping.
From 2001 to 2004, the United States Postal Service gave over $30 million to Lance Armstrong's professional cycling team under a sponsorship agreement. During that time, the sponsorship agreement included a provision that essentially prohibited the use of PEDs by sponsored riders, allowing USPS to suspend or fire riders. Nevertheless, Lance Armstrong earned millions, despite having used PEDs throughout his career.
The USPS's Case
The case was initiated after Armstrong's televised confession to Oprah in 2013, and has been slowly working its way towards a jury since. The USPS is essentially claiming that Armstrong should not be allowed to keep the sponsorship money he was paid because that would allow him to profit despite having breached the sponsorship agreement by using PEDs. Additionally, they are seeking treble damages (three times the $30+ million they paid) under a provision of the law that allows such.
After years of Armstrong trying to make the case go away, it looks like a jury may be deciding whether Armstrong must pay back three times what he received in sponsorships. However, the question isn't as simple as it may seem.
A jury must determine whether the USPS actually received sufficient value for the sponsorship money they paid, which could show that the sponsorship, despite Armstrong's epic fall from grace, was still profitable, thereby eliminating the USPS's claim for monetary damages. If the jury determines that the USPS suffered a net loss, then damages will be available.
While Armstrong has settled prior lawsuits against him that alleged similar claims, he has asserted that he is no longer in a position to write anymore checks. Armstrong has already paid back millions in sponsorship and endorsement deals, not to mention the loss of the once steady stream of merchandizing income. Remember those "Live Strong" bracelets?
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- Lance Armstrong Arbitration: Doping Confession Costs Him $10M (FindLaw's Tarnished Twenty)