Judge Dismisses Lance Armstrong's USADA Lawsuit

By Robyn Hagan Cain on August 21, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

It's a battle of due process versus doping.

Judge Sam Sparks dismissed Lance Armstrong's lawsuit against the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) on Monday, after concluding that Lance could rely on international arbitration bodies for due process, reports The Washington Post.

Now, Lance has to decide his next step in the case. Challenge the district court dismissal in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals? Move forward with arbitration? Accept sanctions? Challenge USADA's proceedings before the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland? There are plenty of options.

If Armstrong were to accept the sanctions, he would forfeit seven Tour de France titles, and he would be banned from the Olympics, reports The Washington Post. We all know that won't happen, so let's discuss the other options.

  • USADA Arbitration: Lance previously described this process as a "kangaroo court," so it seems unlikely that he'll take the route as anything other than a final resort.
  • Court of Arbitration for Sport: The International Cycling Union (UCI) says it has jurisdiction in Armstrong's case, not USADA, reports Sports Illustrated. We don't know if UCI is pro-Lance or USADA is just anti-Lance, but both want to hear this case. Could jurisdiction be resolved in the Court of Arbitration for Sport?
  • Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals: If Lance wants to appeal Judge Sparks ruling in federal court, his next stop is New Orleans.

So which should he choose? We're voting for the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

(Sidebar Lance. If there's one thing we know about the Fifth Circuit, it's that the court loves reversing Judge Sam Sparks. It doesn't seem like Judge Sparks was particularly offensive in this case, but why not appeal to the Fifth Circuit anyway? And cross your fingers for Chief Judge Edith Jones. She's had words with Judge Sparks in the past.)

Aside from the fact that this is a Fifth Circuit blog, and we clearly like writing about Lance (and sports in general), Lance could delay arbitration while pursuing his appeal in federal court. If he loses in the Fifth Circuit, (and the Supreme Court, since he has the funds to push his case all the way through the judiciary), then he can deal with USADA arbitration.

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