Though a federal judge Monday said he "generally adopts" Lance Armstrong's claim that the U.S. Postal Service suffered zero actual damages from the almost $33 million it spent to sponsor his cycling team, the question of damages must go to a jury, clearing the United States' $100 million lawsuit for trial.
In a February 13 decision, U.S. District Judge Christopher R. "Casey" Cooper declared that the issue of damages "must ... be left to a jury". That argument will now be decided by a jury in trial because of Cooper's ruling.
The federal government is suing Armstrong on behalf of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) whose team Armstrong rode for before he was forced out of cycling amid a doping scandal.
The government joined the case in 2013 after the seven-time Tour de France victor admitted using performance-enhancing drugs. While Armstrong has been stripped of all his Tour de France titles, he may also have to pay $100 million in damages to the U.S Postal Service who sponsored Armstrong's cycling team from 2000 to 2004.
Armstrong attempted to have the "whistleblower" case thrown out, arguing that the benefit to the US Postal Service in terms of exposure outweighed the money it gave the team through sponsorship. After repeatedly denying the accusations, Armstrong publicly acknowledged to years of doping in an interview with Oprah Winfrey in January of 2013.
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The benefit "USPS received is not sufficiently quantifiable to keep any reasonable juror from finding that the agency suffered a net loss", given negativity publicity over Armstrong's doping and doping confession, Cooper wrote in a 37-page opinion.
"The USPS was never the victim of fraud." said Armstrong attorney Elliot Peters according to the San Diego Tribune.
The USPS says they paid Armstrong $17 million and spent almost $33 million appearing as the main title sponsor on several of Armstrong's teams. Landis stands to gain up to 25 per cent of whatever sum the government recovers.
On Monday, a federal judge opened the door for a government lawsuit to peddle its way to trial. Landis was stripped of his 2006 Tour de France victory for doping, as well.
"Landis attorney Paul D. Scott said he was delighted" to see the case move toward trial.