Armstrong-Landis battle escalates in whistleblower case

Landis' requests 'abusive, unreasonable and oppressive', say Armstrong's lawyers

The bickering between Lance Armstrong and his former teammate Floyd Landis continues to escalate as Armstrong's lawyers call Landis' attempts to get him to give exact details of his past doping "abusive, unreasonable and oppressive". Armstrong admitted to doping in January 2013, several months after the US Anti-Doping Agency banned him for life following a lengthy investigation, which Landis was a part of.

"Armstrong's use of performance enhancing substances is not in dispute," Armstrong's lawyers wrote in court documents filed Monday, excerpts of which have been published in USA Today. "Armstrong has long admitted to the use of PEDs, and the allegations in this case do not even depend on proving the use of performance enhancing substances. Accordingly, Armstrong requests that the Court enter a protective order to shield Armstrong from Landis' hundreds of unreasonable and unnecessary requests for admission."

The request from Landis' lawyers has come as part of the whistleblower case, which could see Armstrong forced to pay nearly $100 million back to the US government. The case is centred around the pair's time at the team sponsored by and known as US Postal Service – a government-run organisation – and claims that by doping during that time Armstrong was defrauding the government. Landis filed the suit in 2010 and, under US law, he would receive a percentage of the money paid by Armstrong as the 'whistleblower' if the government wins the case, despite also admitting to doping himself.

Armstrong's lawyers claim that the US Postal Service was not damaged by his doping but actually benefitted from it. The case has been a bitter one, with disputes on both sides. Recently, the government requested Armstrong's medical records

Landis' lawyers are attempting to get Armstrong to detail his doping practices in all races between 1998 and 2004, including which products he used. "The number of races in which Armstrong doped while riding for USPS, along with the substances he used, goes to the materiality and number of breaches of the Sponsorship Agreements," they wrote.

"Responses to the (requests for doping details) will narrow the issues and reduce the time needed on these topics at trial."

They also claim that Armstrong has tried to reduce the amount of doping when testifying. "Armstrong's counsel frequently argues that Armstrong's use of performance enhancing substances is not disputed, but the reality is that Armstrong's 'admissions' to date have been carefully orchestrated and have not included relevant details," Landis' attorneys stated.

"Moreover, Armstrong has frequently sought to minimize his doping in his testimony and otherwise. Plaintiffs should be entitled to counter these types of arguments by showing the extent of Armstrong's doping with particularity."

In turn, Armstrong's lawyers are looking for Landis to produce documents regarding his doping denials and his co-operation with the government. They say that although he produced what was asked of him, much of it has been redacted.

"Just a week before defendant Lance Armstrong plans to take the deposition of relator Floyd Landis, Landis is still playing discovery games."

Landis is due to give testimony in a pre-trial deposition on Monday.

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