Sunday Times launches £1 million lawsuit against Lance Armstrong

Newspaper wants back £300,000 it paid to settle libel claim in 2006, plus interest and costs

by Simon_MacMichael   December 24, 2012  

Lance Armstrong (pic courtesy Photosport International)

The Sunday Times has revealed that it is suing Lance Armstrong for the return of money paid for him to settle a libel claim, in a case that could cost the disgraced cyclist up to £1 million. In 2006, the newspaper paid Armstrong £300,000 in an out-of-court settlement relating to its publication in 2004 of allegations that he doped.

Now, in a letter sent to Armstrong's lawyers, The Sunday Times said: "It is clear that the proceedings were baseless and fraudulent. Your representations that you had never taken performance enhancing drugs were deliberately false."

The publication is suing for return of the £300,000 paid to Armstrong to settle that earlier action, brought in the High Court in London, plus interest and costs.

That case was concerned with the newspaper's publication of extracts from the book LA Confidentiel, which its chief sports writer David Walsh had co-written with Pierre Ballester.

The book itself has never been published in English, although earlier this month Walsh, recently named journalist of the year in the Press Gazette Awards, brought out a second book about Armstrong, called Seven Deadly Sins.

The Sunday Times has been considering its position regarding that libel settlement ever since Armstrong was banned from sport for life and stripped of results dating back to 1998, including those seven Tour de France titles he won between 1999 and 2005.

Armstrong, who regularly resorted to threats of legal action against those who pointed the finger at him, has never admitted taking performance enhancing drugs, although he chose not to contest the United States Anti-Doping Agency's charges against him.

15 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

It had to happen. Form an orderly queue.

posted by Mat Brett [1865 posts]
24th December 2012 - 11:52

like this
Like (3)

The gate has been opened!

FATBEGGARONABIKE's picture

posted by FATBEGGARONABIKE [584 posts]
24th December 2012 - 11:54

like this
Like (5)

It'll get settled out of court so that he doesnt have to appear

And I know this is a little nit-picking...but Walsh covered Armstrong in another book after LA Confidential - From Lance to Landis. So really SDS is his 3rd book covering Armstrong.

posted by Sam1 [218 posts]
24th December 2012 - 12:15

like this
Like (4)

This is going to run and run isn't it...

posted by TeamExtreme [5 posts]
24th December 2012 - 12:24

like this
Like (5)

Shame on Team Sky's sister newspaper for keeping this story alive!

posted by a.jumper [698 posts]
24th December 2012 - 12:36

like this
Like (5)

Do they have a case though, when it was an out of court settlement? No-one's proved anything in a court of law on either side here, neither that LA hadn't doped when the Sunday Times paid him off, nor now.

posted by mbrads72 [121 posts]
24th December 2012 - 13:01

like this
Like (5)

TeamExtreme wrote:
This is going to run and run isn't it...

Well yes, as long as that running and running doesnt involve bike or swim sections of course...

posted by farrell [1406 posts]
24th December 2012 - 13:06

like this
Like (5)

"Merry Christmas Ange". ("Lance" shurely? Ed.)

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
24th December 2012 - 13:35

like this
Like (2)

Whilst I'm not a fan of Murdoch and his media controlling empire......

.....bring it on.

Velotastic !

Too many hills, but too little time.

badback's picture

posted by badback [267 posts]
24th December 2012 - 14:56

like this
Like (4)

I'm thinking about launching my own lawsuit for spoiling my enjoyment of all the races I have watched with him in it. £5k should do it??

But I see him declaring himself bankrupt soon....

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [8825 posts]
24th December 2012 - 15:31

like this
Like (3)

KARMA!

Chris D

posted by wingsofspeed68 [50 posts]
24th December 2012 - 20:30

like this
Like (3)

mbrads72 wrote:
Do they have a case though, when it was an out of court settlement? No-one's proved anything in a court of law on either side here, neither that LA hadn't doped when the Sunday Times paid him off, nor now.

My thoughts exactly, the settlement is a contract between the parties where one promises not to sue, and in return the other side pays. The Sunday Times chose not to contest whether LA doped or not in court, so whether LA doped or not is not really the point is it?

posted by Shanghaied [41 posts]
25th December 2012 - 0:12

like this
Like (3)

Shanghaied wrote:
mbrads72 wrote:
Do they have a case though, when it was an out of court settlement? No-one's proved anything in a court of law on either side here, neither that LA hadn't doped when the Sunday Times paid him off, nor now.

My thoughts exactly, the settlement is a contract between the parties where one promises not to sue, and in return the other side pays. The Sunday Times chose not to contest whether LA doped or not in court, so whether LA doped or not is not really the point is it?


That isn't quite what happened. Armstrong did sue, but the case was settled out of court with the Sunday Times paying damages and printing an apology. The payment and apology were fraudulently obtained by Armstrong misrepresenting himself as a clean sportsperson.
More good news: In bringing a false action against the Sunday Times (assuming it wins this case), Armstrong has laid himself open to criminal charges. And a happy new year!

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
25th December 2012 - 15:33

like this
Like (2)

The Rumpo Kid wrote:
Shanghaied wrote:
mbrads72 wrote:
Do they have a case though, when it was an out of court settlement? No-one's proved anything in a court of law on either side here, neither that LA hadn't doped when the Sunday Times paid him off, nor now.

My thoughts exactly, the settlement is a contract between the parties where one promises not to sue, and in return the other side pays. The Sunday Times chose not to contest whether LA doped or not in court, so whether LA doped or not is not really the point is it?


That isn't quite what happened. Armstrong did sue, but the case was settled out of court with the Sunday Times paying damages and printing an apology. The payment and apology were fraudulently obtained by Armstrong misrepresenting himself as a clean sportsperson.
More good news: In bringing a false action against the Sunday Times (assuming it wins this case), Armstrong has laid himself open to criminal charges. And a happy new year!

Oh yes of course, false representation or perjury charges could be brought against him. I expect there will be other legal cases too. I think he might find things very uncomfortable in the next year or so, as he was ready to sue in the past. I'm sure there are several others who will have faced legal threats from him in the past. It'll cost him a lot of money too.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2194 posts]
26th December 2012 - 17:14

like this
Like (4)

Gkam84 wrote:
I'm thinking about launching my own lawsuit for spoiling my enjoyment of all the races I have watched with him in it. £5k should do it??

But I see him declaring himself bankrupt soon....

I wonder if this is possible? Seriously - anyone here with a bit of legal knowledge? I'd honestly like to. I bought tickets to France to see the race, I bought his books, I bought his armbands...eventually stopped buying his bulls##t...but by then it had cost me quite a bit.

Surely there should be some redress for that?

posted by Lacticlegs [124 posts]
15th January 2013 - 16:37

like this
Like (5)