Insurer Demands $3M From Lance Armstrong

     AUSTIN (CN) – A second insurer has sued Lance Armstrong, demanding more than $3 million in bonuses paid for his Tour de France victories from 1999 to 2001.
     Acceptance Insurance Co., based in Council Bluffs, Iowa, sued Armstrong and Tailwind Sports, his management company, in Travis County Court.
     The Union Cycliste International, cycling’s governing body, stripped Armstrong of his seven Tour de France victories and banned him from the sport 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.
     In the new complaint, the insurer says: “By his cheating and deception, Armstrong committed fraud. This suit seeks repayment of $3 million in undeserved and unearned pay Lance Armstrong obtained by fraud.”
     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.”
     “At all relevant times, the Tour de France rules and regulations prohibited the use of performance enhancing drugs,” the complaint states. “Armstrong was never entitled to receive any of the payments, because he cheated in each race and violated the rules and regulations of the events.”
     Acceptance claims that Armstrong and Tailwind had to certify that the competition was in accordance with the terms of the policy and rules of the competition.
     “Those certifications were lies,” the complaint states. “Armstrong’s doping-enhanced wins violated the rules of the competition, and of course they knew it.”
     The insurer claims that for 12 years the defendants fraudulently concealed the cheating by lying, filing fraudulent civil lawsuits, tampering with and intimidating witnesses, falsifying documents and committing perjury.
     In one instance, Acceptance says, Armstrong denied former U.S Postal team soigneur Emma O’Reilly’s allegations of prescription backdating, publicly calling her a whore and alcoholic.
     In another case, it claims, Armstrong denied that he had admitted doping to Tour de France champion Greg LeMond and said LeMond “has serious drinking and drug problems.”
     In February, Dallas-based insurer 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 said, 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.
     Last week, a federal class action in Los Angeles demanded refunds and damages for “sports-related energy products” Armstrong endorsed before he confessed to doping.
     Acceptance seeks actual and punitive damages for fraud, breach of contract and unjust enrichment.
     It is represented by R. James George with George Brothers in Austin.

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