(CN) – With some scorching words for the cyclist’s lawyers, a federal judge threw out Lance Armstrong’s lawsuit against the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency just hours after it was filed Monday in Austin Federal Court, but gave Armstrong leave to refile.
U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks dismissed without prejudice and said the seven-time Tour de France winner can refile it within 20 days.
Though he did not rule on the merits of the complaint, Sparks made it clear that he was unimpressed with the long-winded, unfocused arguments made by attorneys from three high-powered law firms.
“Armstrong’s complaint is far from short, spanning eighty pages and containing 261 numbered paragraphs, many of which have multiple subparts,” Sparks wrote in his three-page order.
“Worse, the bulk of these paragraphs contain ‘allegations’ that are wholly irrelevant to Armstrong’s claims and which, the Court must presume, were included solely to increase media coverage of this case, and to incite public opinion against defendants … Indeed, vast swaths of the complaint could be removed entirely, and most of the remaining paragraphs substantially reduced, without the loss of any legally relevant information.”
(In that paragraph of his order, Sparks cites Armstrong’s complaint: “USADA’s kangaroo court proceeding would violate due process even if USADA had jurisdiction to pursue its charges against Mr. Armstrong.”)
Sparks’ order continues: “Nor are Armstrong’s claims ‘plain’: although his causes of action are, thankfully, clearly enumerated, the excessive preceding rhetoric makes it difficult to relate them to any particular factual support. This Court is not inclined to indulge Armstrong’s desire for publicity, self-aggrandizement, or vilification of defendants, by sifting through eighty mostly unnecessary pages in search of the few kernels of factual material relevant to his claims.”
Armstrong sued the agency and its CEO Travis Tygart, after the USADA formally charged him last month with using banned performance-enhancing drugs, based on the testimony of former teammates and alleged blood samples from 2009 and 2010.
Armstrong has vehemently denied the allegations, accusing Tygart of being obsessed with “getting” him and landing a “big fish” to justify his agency’s existence.
Armstrong objects that the USADA continues to pursue him though federal prosecutors declined to charge him.
“This is not surprising,” the complaint states. “After all, Mr. Armstrong has passed every drug test ever administered to him in his career – a total of 500 to 600 tests. Those tests include a tremendous number of additional tests by USADA over the past several years as part of its ‘target testing’ designed to determine if Mr. Armstrong was cheating or competing fairly.”
Armstrong may refile, go to arbitration, or accept sanctions from USADA. The sanctions would bar him from Olympic sports and strip him of his seven Tour de France titles.
Armstrong, a fierce competitor, is unlikely to accept the sanctions or arbitration.
He seeks injunctive and declaratory relief for Fourth Amendment due process violations and tortious interference with contracts.
His attorneys include Timothy Herman with Howry, Breen & Herman of Austin; Mark Levinstein with Williams & Connolly of Washington, D.C.; and Robert Luskin with Patton Boggs, also of Washington.