The Texas Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal by Lance Armstrong to stop a Dallas-based sports insurance company from attempting to force the disgraced cyclist to repay more than $12 million in prize money. The high court denied a writ of mandamus filed by Armstrong asking the court to hear Armstrong’s argument that the insurer could not seek to reconvene an arbitration proceeding over a 2006 settlement agreement. The Fifth Circuit has also declined to hear the matter. A trial judge allowed the arbitration in this case to be reopened, and the arbitration is currently underway with testimony by Armstrong in recent weeks.
The underlying dispute dates back to 2005 when SCA Promotions began investigating claims that Armstrong took performance-enhancing drugs to win the Tour de France, and then withheld payments to the cyclist. After a lengthy 2006 arbitration, during which Armstrong testified under oath that he had not doped, the parties reached a settlement agreement, and SCA was ordered to pay Armstrong. SCA now seeks to recover those payments.
Since admitting to doping during the 1999-2005 Tour de France races, Lance Armstrong has been at the center of several high-profile lawsuits, including a federal whistle-blower case in which the U.S. government is attempting to recover funds that it invested in the U.S. Postal Service racing team. The whistleblower case is on hold pending the Texas arbitration. Armstrong has already settled a similar case with Acceptance Insurance, which paid more than $3 million in bonuses similar to the bonuses paid by SCA.
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