Armstrong Strikes Back
Written by: Dan Empfield
Date: Mon Jul 09 2012
The restraining order was brought this week because USADA set a date of July 14 for Armstrong to decide whether to participate in the hearing. Not replying would mean, according to Armstrong's motion, "USADA will automatically and unilaterally impose [punitive] sanctions."
Accompanying the restraining order is a lawsuit brought by Armstrong against USADA.
There are two arguments forwarded by Armstrong's attorneys. The first is that USADA lacks standing, and that the UCI (cycling's world governing body) is the proper agency to hear this particular set of complaint's that USADA is bringing. The lawsuit states:
The second argument is potentially more serious, and threatens USADA's traditional methods of operation. The lawsuit points out several well-known distinctions between a typical criminal trial and the USADA process:
- USADA limits all other discovery to the discretion of the arbitration panel;
- The athlete has no right to disclosure of all agreements, promises, and understandings between USADA and the witnesses;
- The athlete has no right to compel witnesses to attend the hearing;
- USADA is under no obligation to produce exculpatory evidence;
- USADA can simply draft affidavits for its witnesses and have them sign them;
- If the athlete wins, USADA can appeal and force the athlete to go through another de novo proceeding at the Court of Arbitration for Sport ("CAS");
Defendants' actions demonstrate their belief that USADA is above the United States Constitution, above the law, above court review, free from supervision from any person or organization, and even above its own rules. Defendants will no doubt tell this Court it has no power or authority either to review their conduct or force USADA to obey the law, obey the Constitution or even obey its own rules. Contrary to Defendants' belief that USADA answers to no one outside of an arbitration regime it has created and has populated with arbitrators who predictably find in USADA's favor, this Court does indeed have the power to review USADA's conduct.
This is a make-or-break suit for USADA. If USADA prevails, it will go along way toward inoculating it against any future action in U.S. federal court. Should Armstrong prevail, it would deal a severe blow to USADA as it currently does business. However, the lawsuit treads lightly, and does not call for USADA's dissolution; rather it seeks to hem what it sees as a jurisdictional overreach; and it points out the infamous distinctions between federal law, common law and what it calls USADA's "kangaroo court." The suit recognizes that "Congress relies on USADA to fulfill its affirmative obligations," as regards anti-doping.
Federal judge Sam Sparks dismissed Armstrong's suit against USADA within hours of its filing, scolding the Armstrong camp for a "desire for publicity, self-aggrandizement or vilification of Defendants." 7.09.12
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
The currents were tough in The Bay, the sand ladder daunting at Tri-California's San Francisco Triathlon at Alcatraz. Photo Gallery by Timothy Carlson 8.22.11
A lot of triathletes are confused and conflicted by today's action, by USADA, banning Lance Armstrong from racing triathlons. How ought the triathlon enthusiast feel about this? We'll take a shot at answering that. 6.13.12