Benchslaps, Constitutional Law, Drugs, Patton Boggs, Sam Sparks, Sports, Texas, Williams & Connolly

Benchslap of the Day: Lance Armstrong’s Lawsuit Needs Some Training Wheels

Lance Armstrong

Yesterday, we brought you news of a rather lengthy lawsuit that was filed by professional cyclist Lance Armstrong against the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). The sports agency had accused Armstrong of doping during his time as a record-setting Tour de France champion, despite the fact that the athlete claimed to have been drug tested more than 500 times in his career, never once yielding a positive result.

Alas, it seems that Armstrong’s dreams of vilifying the USADA were quickly crushed, less than seven hours after his suit was filed. As we sarcastically noted in Morning Docket, perhaps we ought to look into judicial doping, because the suit was dismissed with a quickness we’ve never seen before. But in all seriousness, while a land speed record for benchslapping may have been achieved, it can only be attributed to Judge Sam Sparks’s incredibly quick wit and low tolerance for bullsh*t.

Let’s take a look at the Benchslap King’s Order in a case that managed to grab national media attention just as swiftly as Judge Sparks slapped it down….

As we mentioned yesterday, Armstrong’s suit was really long. In fact, it was a 111-page, 261-paragraph filing filled with vitriol for the USADA and its chief executive, Travis Tygart. (As pointed out by our commenters, it was actually much shorter with proper formatting, weighing in at approximately 80 pages.)

At the end of the day, it was quite apparent that Judge Sparks was pissed off about having to read such a lengthy suit in the middle of a heatwave — or as he called it, a “lengthy and bitter polemic” against the defendants that was in violation of FRCP Rule 8(a). From the order (available in full on the following page):

Judge Sparks also noted that the bulk of the allegations contained in the complaint seem to have been included to “increase media coverage of this case” and “incite public opinion” against the USADA (e.g., Armstrong’s comparison of the USADA process to a “kangaroo court”). Judge Sparks took special care to call out Armstrong’s tactics in a footnote (click to enlarge):

Who in their right mind would be so bold as to submit this kind of paperwork to Judge Sparks? The emboldened lawyer here was Tim Herman, of Howry, Breen and Herman. Armstrong is also represented by lawyers from Patton Boggs and Williams & Connolly. In an interview with the Washington Post, Herman had this to say of Judge Sparks’s signature benchslap:

“We will refile in a format that conforms to what Judge Sparks wants. Obviously, I would have preferred not to have the order — I’d be lying if I said otherwise — but Judge Sparks is very straightforward, to say the least. When he speaks, I listen.”

Wiser words have never been spoken. Herman noted that the suit would be refiled by Wednesday at the latest. For his client Lance Armstrong’s sake, we hope that it’s a little more concise, or else Judge Sparks will again instruct the famous cyclist’s attorney to slap some training wheels on it.

Click through to the next page to see Judge Sparks’s Order in full….

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