Armstrong Loses Bid to Nix Insurer’s $3M Suit

     AUSTIN (CN) – A Texas judge refused to toss an insurance company’s $3 million lawsuit against disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong over bonuses paid for his Tour de France victories from 1999 to 2001.
     Iowa-based Acceptance Insurance Co. sued Armstrong and Tailwind Sports, his management company, in Travis County Court in March.
     Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour vict     ories and banned from cycling for life in 2012 after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency released a “reasoned decision” that accused Armstrong of running the most sophisticated doping program in sports history.
     
Armstrong confirmed the accusations in a televised interview with Oprah Winfrey in January.
     
Travis County Judge Darlene Byrne rejected Armstrong’s motion to dismiss on July 8, according to ESPN.com.
     Armstrong had argued that the statute of limitations on fraud or breach of contract claims expired by 2011, while the insurer said the clock did not start until Armstrong admitted to doping.
     
Mark Kincaid, the insurer’s attorney, told ESPN.com that his client will seek to question Armstrong and other witnesses under oath, something the cyclist has yet to do.
     
“Lance Armstrong would be the No. 1 witness,” Kincaid said.
     Acceptance claims Armstrong voided the policy and committed fraud by doping and cheating. It says the policy excludes any loss caused by a dishonest or fraudulent act and excludes any claim “arising out of fraud, misrepresentation, collusion or dishonesty.”
     Acceptance is the second insurer to sue Armstrong since his doping admission. In February, Dallas-based SCA Promotions sued Armstrong, his agent William Stapleton and Tailwind in Dallas County Court, demanding the return of $12 million in bonus money paid for subsequent Tour wins.
     
Unlike Acceptance, SCA initially refused to pay Armstrong and questioned the legitimacy of his victories. This resulted in Armstrong and Tailwind suing SCA in 2004 for a $5 million bonus for his Tour victory in 2003.
     Armstrong took SCA to arbitration in 2005 and won, as he had been named the official winner of the Tour. The parties settled in 2006, and Armstrong was paid.          
     SCA claimed Armstrong made two statements during arbitration: first, that he told a “critical” lie under oath, that he had “never, ever” used performance-enhancing drugs in his entire career.
     Second, SCA says the defendants assured it and the arbitrators that if Armstrong had cheated, and was subsequently stripped of his Tour titles, he would be obligated to refund the prize money paid by SCA.

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