Lance Armstrong has avoided testifying under oath about his past after his lawyers secured a temporary delay of an arbitration review of his legal battle with SCA Promotions.
SCA paid Armstrong and his Tailwind Sports management company a reported $12 million as part of an insurance agreement to cover Armstrong's bonuses for winning the Tour de France.
SCA refused to pay a final $7.5 million bonus for Armstrong's 2005 Tour de France victory, suspecting he may have doped during his career but eventually reached a settlement in 2006. Armstrong's confession following his lifetime ban by USADA confirmed he did dope and so SCA is trying to reopen the case and recover the millions it paid out.
The arbitration panel that approved the original settlement has agreed to reconsider the case and last week a Dallas judge rejected Armstrong's attempt to end it, setting a date of March 17 for a hearing. SCA's attorneys wanted to question Armstrong under oath on Thursday.
Armstrong is trying to avoid any risk of perjury after denying doping during the original SCA arbitration hearing.
The original SCA case also included testimony from Betsy and Frankie Andreu, who said that Armstrong admitted to doctors treating him for cancer in 1996 that he had used performance-enhancing drugs. They later became key witnesses against Armstrong in the USADA report.
Armstrong's attorneys appealed to the Dallas-based Fifth Court of Appeals and according to a report by the Associated Press, Judge Kerry Fitzgerald stopped the case on Tuesday pending further review by the court later this month.
Armstrong's attorneys claimed that Texas state law does not allow SCA to reopen the original settlement, which said that "No party may challenge, appeal or attempt to set aside" the payment and that it was "fully and forever binding."
Armstrong attorney Tim Herman said insisted the case cannot be reopened.
"We are pleased the court will consider the issue of whether a final settlement, to which all parties agreed would end all disputes, can be reopened when one side has buyer's remorse," Herman said.
An SCA spokesman said the company "respects the decision" of the court and declined further comment. SCA has always claimed the case should be reopened because Armstrong is no longer the official Tour de France winner, suggesting his alleged perjury is a 'game changer'
The SCA case is one of several legal battles Armstrong is facing since admitting to doping last year. He has already settled with the Sunday Times and Acceptance Insurance, avoiding going under oath with a last-minute agreement.
He is also is facing a federal whistleblower lawsuit in the USA. The US government wants to recover more than $30 million that the U.S. Postal Service paid to Armstrong and the team. Potential penalties in that case could be as high as $100 million, with a part of this going to Floyd Landis, who initially accused Armstrong.