UCI and Lance Armstrong (UCI's Bark is Stronger than its Bite)
Written by: Kelly Burns Gallagher
Date: Sun Aug 05 2012
In this letter the UCI makes contractual arguments similar to those stated in Armstrong's Complaint and his Motion to Dismiss. UCI asserts that when a UCI license holder (e.g., Floyd Landis) informs a national federation of the UCI (e.g., USA Cycling) of a potential doping violation, authority for the "results management" process lies with UCI. UCI goes on to state that "where the accusation refers to test results, the UCI is the only test results management authority as these are UCI tests." UCI assures USADA that it does not intend "to stop the case" against Armstrong but rather to take over responsibility for it and that "[t]he evidence in the file will tell what it tells and the UCI shall act accordingly."
After informing USADA that UCI is contractually responsible for Armstrong's case, UCI takes a few swipes, not at the legal underpinnings of USADA's argument, but at the fairness of USADA's process. UCI's arguments about "fairness" and "due process" do not stem from the law (there is a pretty low bar for legally meeting the requirements for procedural due process
The UCI closes the letter by requesting the entirety of USADA's file on Armstrong and directing USADA to "refrain from proceeding with the disciplinary actions until the file has been examined in a review process by an independent body and where the respondents have the opportunity to see the evidence and comment on it in front of that body before disciplinary proceedings are opened."
UCI's August 3, 2012 Letter
After receiving the UCI's letter, USADA declined to turn over responsibility for the Armstrong case, declined to turn over its file, issued lifetime bans on Michele Ferrari, Luis Garcia Del Moral and Pepe Marti (all of whom were involved with Armstrong at various points during Armstrong's career) and accused UCI of a conflict of interest because of previous monetary contributions Armstrong made to the UCI. Obviously, the UCI was not pleased with USADA's response and sent another letter to USADA on August 3, 2012. In addition to blasting USADA for sanctioning non-license holders (Ferrari, Del Moral and Marti) and again commenting on the fairness of USADA's procedures, the UCI continued to assert that it and only it has responsibility for the doping allegations against Armstrong. While the UCI acknowledged that situations could exist in which USADA would have responsibility for doping allegations—such as if USADA made an independent discovery—the UCI states that "[t]he fact that USADA refuses to [to turn over its files to UCI] justifies that the inference is drawn that USADA’s file does not show that it discovered the anti-doping rule violation(s) that it alleges against [Armstrong]." The UCI ends the letter with the statement that "[t]his case has to be taken out from this mine-affected sphere and given into the hands of third persons" and denied USADA "any authority to act or proceed on the basis of ADR or any other rule of the UCI or otherwise on behalf of UCI and/or USA Cycling."
While the UCI had strong words for USADA, it appears that its bark is worse than its bite. As of August 5, 2012, UCI has not filed a motion to intervene in the litigation between Armstrong and USADA pending in the Western District of Texas. Rule 24 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allows the UCI to move to intervene in the Armstrong case (what this means is that the UCI, which is not originally named as a party to the Armstrong ligation, can request that the court allow it to become a named party in the lawsuit). Individuals and organizations are permitted to intervene if they have a strong interest in the subject of the lawsuit. Here, Armstrong (and apparently the UCI) are claiming that Armstrong's contract (in the form of his pro cycling license) is with the UCI and not USADA and that the UCI should have responsibility for investigating the doping allegations against Armstrong. This is a fairly strong basis for a motion to intervene, but it does not appear that the UCI is willing to take this step in support of its position.
Labor and employment litigator Kelly Burns Gallagher analyzes USADA's motion to dismiss Lance Armstrong's lawsuit against it. Burns Gallagher is passionate about triathlon and cycling when not busy with her legal day job. 7.20.12
Labor and employment litigator Kelly Burns Gallagher gives fellow Slowtwitchers an analysis of Armstrong's legal case. The arguments break down into two categories: Contract Claims; and Due Process Claims 7.11.12