Posted on 05 Mar 2013 by Neilson
A flood of legal trouble is starting to rise against Lance Armstrong, who was hit with two more lawsuits this week stemming from his televised confession that he used banned drugs to boost his cycling career.
The lawsuits, obtained by USA TODAY Sports, raise the stakes for Armstrong, who now faces more than $110 million in liabilities against a net worth estimated last year at $125 million.
In one case, Armstrong is accused of false advertising in his former role as an endorser and spokesman for energy drink maker FRS.
Robert Martin, an FRS consumer from New York, filed the suit in federal court Thursday, seeking class-action status and unspecified damages on behalf of other FRS customers. The suit states 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," the suit states.
The company didn't immediately return a message seeking comment. In October, FRS said it "seemed like a good time to part ways" with Armstrong after a file of doping evidence came out against him.
In the other lawsuit, filed in Texas, another insurance company sued Armstrong, seeking the return of $3 million in bonuses paid to him for winning the Tour de France in 1999, 2000 and 2001.
"By his cheating and deception, Armstrong committed fraud," says the suit from Acceptance Insurance Company. "This suit seeks repayment of $3 million in undeserved and unearned pay Armstrong obtained by fraud."
Both suits cite Armstrong's televised confession in January. After more than a decade of denials, Armstrong admitted that he used banned drugs or blood transfusions to gain an edge during all seven of his victories in the Tour de France. He said he started doping in the mid-1990s and continued it through 2005.
He said then that he was finally admitting it for the sake of his family. But the confession also has provided ammunition for those trying to gain back money from him.
At least five legal actions have been filed since the confession, including the two this week.
Among the others:
--Last week, the federal government joined a civil fraud case against him that alleges he defrauded the U.S. Postal Service through his doping scheme. 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 be more than $93 million.
--A Dallas sports insurance company, SCA Promotions, is seeking the repayment of $12 million in bonuses and fees Armstrong was paid for winning the Tour de France in 2002, 2003 and 2004. Armstrong denied doping under oath in a previous case against SCA Promotions in 2005. Last year, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency stripped him of all seven of his Tour titles.
--Two readers of Armstrong's biographies are suing him in federal court for fraud and false advertising.
They say his books were fiction because they lied about the reasons for his success. The suit seeks class-action status on behalf of other readers and is asking for refunds and other costs.
Armstrong's attorneys declined comment Friday.