In the latest development in a long and bitterly-fought legal battle, Lance Armstrong has been ordered to pay ten million dollars to the SCA Promotions company by a Texas arbitration panel.
The company has confirmed to CyclingTips that the arbitrators’ written ruling has found that Armstrong engaged in “an unparalleled pageant of international perjury, fraud and conspiracy.”
That panel also found that he had “used perjury and other wrongful conduct to secure millions of dollars of benefits” from SCA Promotions, which was the insurance company contracted to cover bonus payments due to him for winning the Tour de France.
In addition to committing what they said was “perjury on every issue” in the case, the arbitrators also found that Armstrong “intimidated and pressured other witnesses to lie.”
They also concluded that he had “used a false personal and emotional appeal to perpetuate” his version of events.
Armstrong acknowledged during his hearing that he had been untruthful in the past but, according to the same arbitrators, he had expressed no remorse for his wrongful conduct.
“We are very pleased with this result,” said SCA’s president and founder, Bob Hamman. “It is hard to describe how much harm Lance Armstrong’s web of lies caused SCA but this is a good first start towards repairing that damage.”
In a statement, SCA Promotions said that said that the payout is believed to be the largest award of sanctions assessed against an individual in American judicial history.
It has filed a motion with a Dallas state district court to have the award confirmed into a judgment against Armstrong, noting in that application that he has thus far refused to comply with the ruling.
“This record breaking award was justified given Armstrong’s outrageous conduct,” said SCA lawyer Jeff Tillotson.
“The panel of arbitrators determined that Armstrong ‘continued to lie to the Panel throughout the final hearing even while admitting to prior falsehoods and other wrongful conduct.’”
Long running battle:
During the early 2000s the Texas company originally entered into a contract with the US Postal Service team owner Tailwind Sports. The latter took out a policy with SCA Promotions to cover the performance bonuses that would be due to the rider when he won the Tour.
It paid Armstrong $4.5 million for his victories in 2001/2002 and 2003 and was due to pay out an additional $5 million after he won his sixth Tour title in 2004.
However it disputed this on the basis of the doping claims made against Armstrong in the LA Confidentiel book, with SCA arguing that the Tour wins may not have been clean.
Armstrong and Tailwind Sports fought this in court and eventually won on the basis that the original contract between the two companies didn’t include stipulations about doping.
SCA Promotions ended up paying the sum in question as well as an additional $2.5 million in interest and legal fees.
Including the sums originally paid out, the contract with Armstrong cost the company $12 million.
Armstrong denied doping throughout his career but in January 2013 he finally admitted to have used banned substances during his time in the pro peloton.
SCA Promotions subsequently launched a new case against Armstrong, fighting to reclaim the money paid out. His lawyers argued that the original judgement couldn’t be overruled.
In November 2012 Roopstigo journalist Selena Roberts reported that his lawyers offered a sum believed to be one million dollars as settlement; this was rejected by SCA.
This is not surprising: on October 31 of that year SCA’s Jeff Dorough told VeloNation that a considerably larger sum had been demanded.
“I can confirm that the demand letter was sent to Mr. Armstrong yesterday,” he said then, “requesting a return of the $12 million in bonuses paid by SCA to him, as well as putting him on notice that we may seek legal sanctions and penalties against Mr. Armstrong in connection with the false testimony given by him in 2005-2006 arbitration proceeding.”
Over two years later, Armstrong has been ordered to pay ten million dollars by the original arbitration panel, which was reconvened again to hear the current version of the case.
As he has thus far refused to comply with the February 4 ruling, SCA Promotions lodged Monday an application to the 116th Judicial District Court in Texas seeking to have this ruling enforced.
In addition to that, SCA Promotions has confirmed that it has a currently pending lawsuit in that court where it is pursuing additional claims against Armstrong and his agent Bill Stapleton.