Swiss court finds in favour of UCI in Landis defamation case

Ex-racer must pay McQuaid and Verbruggen CHF 10,000 each and not call the UCI "clowns" or "fools" again

by Dave Atkinson   October 3, 2012  

Floyd Landis (copyright ColinEdwards99:Wikimedia Commons).jpg

The District Court of Eastern Vaud in Vevey has ruled in favour of the UCI, Hein Verbruggen and Pat McQuaid in their defamation case against Floyd Landis. The suit stems in part from Landis' allegation that the UCI covered up a positive test for Lance Armstrong in the 2001 Tour de Suisse, a claim which has also been made by reporter and ex-pro Paul Kimmage who is facing a similar charge.

Whereas Landis wasn't present for the case or the ruling and thus was found guilty by default, Kimmage will certainly contest the charge; a fighting fund started by Ciclismas and NY Velocity has raised over $50,000 to allow Kimmage to engage a team to defend him in court. His case is due to be heard in December, by which time full details of USADA's decision to strip Lance Armstrong of his seven tour de france titles may well be in the public domain.

The ruling by the court in Vevey orders Landis to publish the verdict at his own expense in the Wall St Journal, L'Equipe, Le Temps, NYVelocity.com, cyclingnews.com, Velonation.com, Velonews.com and De Volksrant. It also goes into great detail to spell out exactly what Landis must not say in future; the ruling "forbids Floyd Landis to state that the Union Cycliste Internationale, Patrick (Pat) McQuaid and/or Henricus (Hein) Verbruggen have concealed cases of doping, received money for doing so, have accepted money from Lance Armstrong to conceal a doping case, have protected certain racing cyclists, concealed cases of doping, have engaged in manipulation, particularly of tests and races, have hesitated and delayed publishing the results of a positive test on Alberto Contador, have accepted bribes, are corrupt, are terrorists, have no regard for the rules, load the dice, are fools, do not have a genuine desire to restore discipline to cycling, are full of shit, are clowns, their words are worthless, are liars, are no different to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, or to make any similar other allegations of that kind." So that's pretty clear then.

The ruling goes on to lay out the details of the fine, and his costs of the case (CHF 2,100), and also notes that Landis owes the UCI, Verbruggen and McQuaid the sum of CHF 4,600 to cover their costs.

"The UCI has been notified of the judgement, returned by the Est Vaudois District Court, in its defamation case against Mr Floyd Landis," reads the UCI's official statement. "The judgement upholds and protects the integrity of the UCI and its Presidents. False accusations are unacceptable and unlawful and the UCI will continue to defend itself against all such accusations."

28 user comments

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Did Landis miss anything off his list...

If that ride is important to you, you'll find a way to get it in!

road slapper's picture

posted by road slapper [91 posts]
3rd October 2012 - 17:08

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he may as well not pay and find out if the LA disclosures prove he was right anyway..

spindoctore's picture

posted by spindoctore [49 posts]
3rd October 2012 - 17:39

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A court which has no jurisdiction in any of the countries of publication finds against a person over whom it has no jurisdiction. I am aware by the way that the Swiss think they have jurisdiction because the injured parties are in Switzerland but I would be surprised if the USA or France agree. As long as he never goes to Switzerland Landis can probably ignore this court and its findings. I think I also read this was a civil case which would further limit the findings effect outside Switzerland.

Paul W

posted by PaulVWatts [111 posts]
3rd October 2012 - 18:17

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So the way I read the document. He cannot state they are any of those things outlined in the court document.

He just needs to grab a thesaurus and find other words for them.

So for example. No more Clowns. But they could be

Quote:
Clown  
Definition: joking person
Synonyms: antic, buffoon, comedian, comic, cut-up, dolt, droll, farceur, funnyperson, funster, gagman, gagster, harlequin, humorist, jester, joker, jokesmith, jokester, life of the party, madcap, merry-andrew, merrymaker, mime, mountebank, mummer, picador, pierrot, prankster, punch, punchinello, quipster, ribald, wag, wisecracker, wit*, zany*
Wink Wink

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [8696 posts]
3rd October 2012 - 18:37

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Landis is on thin ice when it comes to comparisons with Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

jaunty angle: bikes and communications
http://ragtag.wordpress.com

ragtag's picture

posted by ragtag [154 posts]
3rd October 2012 - 18:54

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road slapper wrote:
Did Landis miss anything off his list...

Proof?

antonio

antonio's picture

posted by antonio [934 posts]
3rd October 2012 - 18:55

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Let me get this straight;
1) Hein said Lance Armstrong did not give the UCI any money.
2) Pat said he did, and conceded that taking it may have been a "mistake".
3) According to the judgement, neither of these men are "liars".

That's the last time I'll buy a Toblerone!

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
3rd October 2012 - 19:22

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So, let me understand this: McQuaid and Verbruggen AREN'T full of shit. Officially. I'm glad that's finally been clarified. Because, although I'm not a lawyer, to me the evidence had always pointed to the opposite. Well, another good day for the UCI.

Low Speed Wobble's picture

posted by Low Speed Wobble [137 posts]
3rd October 2012 - 19:22

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Low Speed Wobble wrote:
So, let me understand this: McQuaid and Verbruggen AREN'T full of shit. Officially. I'm glad that's finally been clarified. Because, although I'm not a lawyer, to me the evidence had always pointed to the opposite. Well, another good day for the UCI.

the court didn't rule on whether mcquaid and verbruggen *are* full of shit, only landis' freedom to *say* they are Wink

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7253 posts]
3rd October 2012 - 20:36

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As an American citizen, isn't Landis' right to say "Hein and Pat are full of shit" guaranteed under the First Amendment to the Constitution?

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
3rd October 2012 - 20:47

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The Rumpo Kid wrote:
As an American citizen, isn't Landis' right to say "Hein and Pat are full of shit" guaranteed under the First Amendment to the Constitution?

It certainly does according to Landis' lawyer:

espn wrote:

Landis' lawyer, Leo Cunningham, said Landis was never formally contacted or informed he was a defendant, and called the order "unenforceable."

"Floyd was never served with the UCI's Swiss lawsuit, never appeared in Switzerland on the case, and therefore the Swiss Court had no opportunity to hear Floyd on the issues,'' Cunningham wrote in a statement e-mailed to ESPN.com. "The order is un-American in every sense of that word. It is inconsistent with American law, it flies in the face of our First Amendment, and it would be unenforceable in American courts. It does not affect Floyd's status under American law in any way.''

from http://espn.go.com/olympics/cycling/story/_/id/8456695/world-cycling-bod...

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7253 posts]
3rd October 2012 - 21:01

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The Rumpo Kid wrote:
As an American citizen, isn't Landis' right to say "Hein and Pat are full of shit" guaranteed under the First Amendment to the Constitution?

Not quite, there are various rules in place. He said most of these things in print, like books, newspaper articles....etc.

So it would come under commercial speech. There are many other rules to things sold or said while outside the US, but I am not even going to get into that Wink

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Consti...

Here are some other exclusions

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_free_speech_exceptions

Also, without evidence of cover ups and so forth, it could be classed as Defamation, which is in no way covered by the first amendment

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [8696 posts]
3rd October 2012 - 21:05

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Once the checks clear, does he get his 2006 TdF title back? I believe there is some precedent there... Big Grin

posted by TheBigMong [218 posts]
3rd October 2012 - 21:56

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All he needs to do is tell the foolish clowns to EFF OFF ! Big Grin

Brummmie's picture

posted by Brummmie [56 posts]
3rd October 2012 - 22:08

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Gkam84 wrote:
The Rumpo Kid wrote:
As an American citizen, isn't Landis' right to say "Hein and Pat are full of shit" guaranteed under the First Amendment to the Constitution?

Not quite, there are various rules in place. He said most of these things in print, like books, newspaper articles....etc.

So it would come under commercial speech. There are many other rules to things sold or said while outside the US, but I am not even going to get into that Wink

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Consti...

Here are some other exclusions

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_free_speech_exceptions

Also, without evidence of cover ups and so forth, it could be classed as Defamation, which is in no way covered by the first amendment


Thanks for that Gkam. My original comment was made half jokingly, but "there's many a true word..." as the saying goes. I do know that under UK law, insult is not slander, as many aggrieved celebs have found to their (legal) cost. I'm a bit vague as to other nations.

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
3rd October 2012 - 22:40

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Dave Atkinson wrote:
The Rumpo Kid wrote:
As an American citizen, isn't Landis' right to say "Hein and Pat are full of shit" guaranteed under the First Amendment to the Constitution?

It certainly does according to Landis' lawyer:

espn wrote:

Landis' lawyer, Leo Cunningham, said Landis was never formally contacted or informed he was a defendant, and called the order "unenforceable."

"Floyd was never served with the UCI's Swiss lawsuit, never appeared in Switzerland on the case, and therefore the Swiss Court had no opportunity to hear Floyd on the issues,'' Cunningham wrote in a statement e-mailed to ESPN.com. "The order is un-American in every sense of that word. It is inconsistent with American law, it flies in the face of our First Amendment, and it would be unenforceable in American courts. It does not affect Floyd's status under American law in any way.''

from http://espn.go.com/olympics/cycling/story/_/id/8456695/world-cycling-body-hails-court-win-floyd-landis


All in all, another PR triumph for the sports governing body you love to hate!

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
3rd October 2012 - 22:46

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The Rumpo Kid wrote:

Thanks for that Gkam. My original comment was made half jokingly, but "there's many a true word..." as the saying goes. I do know that under UK law, insult is not slander, as many aggrieved celebs have found to their (legal) cost. I'm a bit vague as to other nations.

No worries. I didn't want to get into another battle with you Wink

Not that I know everything you legally can and cannot do. But just pointing out the many diverse laws and acts in the US which seem to trump their free speech stuff sometimes.

As for the UK. I have no clue about the laws and acts surrounding insults, slander, defamation......etc. As they seem to change daily to suit whoever has the power to say something bad about someone else

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [8696 posts]
3rd October 2012 - 23:11

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Can Landis, when publishing the ruling in full, list what he is forbidden from saying? Or would that put him in breach of the judgement?

I'm pretty sure that this is unenforceable - failing the first test of bad law.

posted by Campag_10 [153 posts]
3rd October 2012 - 23:20

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Such good timing, coming just as it does before, hopefully, USADAs case file is made public and shows that the UCI are in fact clowns, full of shit, took payment from LA etc etc etc...

If I could have, say, 6 bikes, would it stop me drooling over others that I don't have?

posted by notfastenough [2948 posts]
3rd October 2012 - 23:28

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this is getting all quite amusing now ...

posted by Karbon Kev [667 posts]
4th October 2012 - 7:30

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It's fortunate for Landis that he's probably so skint he can't leave the US anyway Wink

posted by Sadly Biggins [263 posts]
4th October 2012 - 10:14

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I am tempted to say the UCI are a bunch of old gits (I think Landis missed that one) but I may wish to go to switzerland sometime so I will refrain and say:

UCI are really do seem to have a penchant for the own goals (is there a cycling equivalent phrase)the Kimmage case is yet another example.

In the age of social media the one thing that is going to ensure that the views of those who oppose you get maximum airing is is to take a defamation case out in a country that has no jurisdiction over the activity of the defendant. Even super injunctions have little power over the speed of social media.

All that they have achieved here is the broadcasting of Landis views to a wider public, made themselves look silly and prove that Swiss judges do have a sense of humor along with a sense of natural justice. Why else this ruling, as the Judge must be aware of the rulings real limitations and that he/she is giving Verbruggen and McQuaid a Pyrrhic victory.

What the UCI has rather successfully achieved is to turn hushed whispers into a viral campaign, perhaps I should have used the phrase old gits.

THE ONLY WAY IS BIKE

posted by lushmiester [156 posts]
4th October 2012 - 13:52

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Marvellous!

Whoever is advising Pat and co. is going to have a bit of a shock...unless it is actually deliberate sabotage from the inside of the UCI, in which case - bravo!

They could not make themselves look worse if they tried. I was dreading the glacial pace of any possible changes to the UCI leadership...until they started doing their detractors work for them.

Anyone fancy a little flutter on whether Pat is still in-situ by spring 2013?

Big Grin

posted by Lacticlegs [124 posts]
4th October 2012 - 14:26

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I think that the thankless task of trying to stop Pat and Hein doing anything in public that would heap even further ridicule on the UCI would fall to PR consigliere Enrico Carpani. Unfortunately, he seems to be cut from much the same cloth as they are.

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
4th October 2012 - 16:22

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Can I call them 'clowns' and 'fools' and tell the Swiss court to go swivel? It's not as if Switzerland is a place I intend to re-visit anyway. It's a bit boring and full of undesirables like Pat and Hein.

Silly me. You're probably right....

MercuryOne's picture

posted by MercuryOne [1031 posts]
4th October 2012 - 19:06

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lushmiester wrote:
UCI are really do seem to have a penchant for the own goals
In the age of social media the one thing that is going to ensure that the views of those who oppose you get maximum airing is is to take a defamation case out in a country that has no jurisdiction over the activity of the defendant. Even super injunctions have little power over the speed of social media.

All that they have achieved here is the broadcasting of Landis views to a wider public, made themselves look silly and prove that Swiss judges do have a sense of humor along with a sense of natural justice. Why else this ruling, as the Judge must be aware of the rulings real limitations and that he/she is giving Verbruggen and McQuaid a Pyrrhic victory.

What the UCI has rather successfully achieved is to turn hushed whispers into a viral campaign.


+ 1... thats just what I was thinking... ironically this kinda prooves that they are the idiots the swiss judge said they weren't allowed to be called Wink

Paulo's picture

posted by Paulo [108 posts]
5th October 2012 - 19:21

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So to recap, he can't say they:

'have concealed cases of doping, received money for doing so, have accepted money from Lance Armstrong to conceal a doping case, have protected certain racing cyclists, concealed cases of doping, have engaged in manipulation, particularly of tests and races, have hesitated and delayed publishing the results of a positive test on Alberto Contador, have accepted bribes, are corrupt, are terrorists, have no regard for the rules, load the dice, are fools, do not have a genuine desire to restore discipline to cycling, are full of shit, are clowns, their words are worthless, are liars, are no different to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi'

Rolling On The Floor

posted by kie7077 [434 posts]
7th October 2012 - 12:56

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This clearly demonstrates why I am in such a poorly paid job; I am not enough of a fuckwit to populate the kind of overpaid, incompetent, idiotic role that these jerks do. Utterly moronic, and fuel to the case against LA.

posted by matthewuniverse [17 posts]
7th October 2012 - 19:15

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