A US federal judge on Monday provided another small but potentially significant victory for Lance Armstrong in his ongoing defence against the government's civil fraud lawsuit, according to USA Today.
US District Judge Christopher Cooper's ruling dismisses the government’s claim that Armstrong is required to pay back sponsorship money his team received from the US Postal Service after he admitted using Performance Enhancing Drugs throughout most of his career.
The government claimed that Armstrong was required under reverse false claims to pay back the money because Armstrong's PED use breached the contract he had with the US Postal Service.
Cooper's ruling, which was finalized on Monday, dismissed that notion and said it does not apply to the Armstrong case, potentially making it harder or the government to prove damages that could reach as high as $100 million.
"The government … contends – again – that long-established principles of contract and restitution law obligated (the cycling team owner) to repay any funds attributable to a breach of the Sponsorship Agreement,” Cooper wrote in his ruling, according to USA Today. “The Court rejected this view after considerable briefing."
Monday's ruling follows a similar one Cooper made in January of this year, when he dismissed the reverse false claims portion of whistleblower Floyd Landis' suit against Armstrong's former business associated Bart Knaggs and Bill Stapleton. The government tried to persuade Cooper not to make a similar ruling against its case in a brief filed on February 2, according to USA Today, but Cooper was not swayed.
"While these arguments were forceful and well-reasoned, the Court was not persuaded by them," Cooper wrote in his Monday ruling, according to USA Today.
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