Landis v. Armstrong: Postal Service Paid Lance Armstrong Linked Firm $32 million

The U.S. Postal Service has revealed that it paid a San Francisco company running the team sponsoring Lance Armstrong, $32 million in sponsorship moneys. The information was revealed in Freedom of Information Act requests. Former Armonstrong teammate Floyd Landis filed a whistleblower case under The False Claims Act, alleging that Tailwind Sports, a sports management company, defrauded the U.S. government by lying to USPS officials about performance enhancing drug use on the Armstrong team. The unique and unusual theory for a False Claims Act case, Landis is saying that the use of performance-enhancing drugs can be construed as a form of financial fraud in which one party misrepresents the truth in order to obtain federal moneys. This theory, never before asserted as it relates to drug usage, will test the limits of the federal whistleblower law, if it withstands legal muster. The one legal toe-hold that Landis may have is that around 2001, the Postal Service sponsorship agreements contained language specifically proscribing perfromance enhancing drug usage. As such, if the drug usage can be proven, as it must as a pre-requisite for Landis’s case, Tailwind Sports would be hardpressed to argue that even if there was drug usage it was not relevant to the agreement. The Postal Service no longer sponsor atheletes. Presently the government is investigating the matter and deciding whether to join Landis in the litigation against Tailwind.