Lance Armstrong has been hit by two new lawsuits and is likely facing a rising tide of potential legal woes.
Both lawsuits cite Armstrong’s televised admission to Oprah Winfrey, in which the disgraced sportsman admitted that he took performance enhancing drugs during all seven of his Tour de France victories.
According to USA Today Sports, both lawsuits twist the knife for the ex-cyclist, in that Armstrong now faces more than $110 million in liabilities against a net worth estimated last year at $125 million.
In the first of the new cases against Armstrong, Robert Martin filed a lawsuit in a federal court in Los Angeles on Thursday and is seeking class-action status for his suit and unspecified damages. He is suing both Armstrong and FRS — makers of the nutritional supplement — under the banner of false advertising.
Martin, who says he is a FRS consumer, says Armstrong falsely represented the brand in his role as an endorser and spokesman. The suit alleges FRS customers were “misled by a marketing campaign that falsely depicted FRS products as the reason for Armstrong’s incredible endurance in cycling.”
“Instead, defendant Armstrong’s successes were the result of his systemic and illegal use of banned performance enhancing drugs and human growth hormones.”
FRS parted ways with Armstrong last October after the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) released a comprehensive 1000 page report which detailed doping allegations against the former champion, and preceded their stripping of his seven Tour titles.
In the second case, filed in Texas, the Nebraska-based Acceptance Insurance Company is suing Armstrong and his cycling team’s management company, Tailwind Sports Corporation. The suit claims Armstrong committed fraud by concealing his use of performance-enhancing drugs during the 1999, 2000 and 2001 Tours.
“By cheating and deception, Armstrong committed fraud,” says the Acceptance suit. “This suit seeks repayment of $3 million in undeserved and unearned pay Armstrong obtained by fraud.”
USA Today writes that at least five legal actions have been filed since Winfrey’s interview, including the two new ones this week. Among the others, the US Justice Department recently added federal weight to a civil fraud case that alleges Armstrong defrauded the US Postal Service through his doping scheme.
In total, the USPS paid $31 million to sponsor Armstrong’s cycling team from 2001 to 2004. Under the False Claims Act, the government can seek treble damages, which in this case could amount to more than $93 million.
In addition, a Dallas sports insurance company, SCA Promotions, is suing the 41-year-old for $12 million in bonuses and fees that they paid him for winning the Tour de France in 2002,’03, and ’04. In an earlier case against SCA in 2005, Armstrong emphatically denied doping.
Bringing up the rear, two readers of Armstrong’s biographies are suing him in federal court for fraud and false advertising. The grim news doesn’t stop there.
According to the Herald Sun, moves are afoot to strip Armstrong of the award France gave him in 2005 to recognize his seventh Tour win. The Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur is considered France’s highest honor.
Armstrong’s attorneys have yet to respond to media requests for comment about their embattled client, Agence France-Presse notes.