On the morning of July 9, cyclist Lance Armstrong filed an 82-page complaint seeking a temporary restraining order against the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. Armstrong alleged the agency violated his due process rights and he sought to stop the agency from issuing punishment against him for alleged doping violations.
But within hours, U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks of the Western District of Texas had issued an order dismissing Armstrong's complaint without prejudice, allowing Armstrong to re-file within 20 days. Sparks described Armstrong's complaint as "excessive" in its "rhetoric," and the judge wrote that "the Court is not inclined to indulge Armstrong's desire for publicity, self-aggrandizement. . . ."
Sean E. Breen, a partner in Austin's Howry Breen & Herman who represents Armstrong, says he will re-file a “shorter” complaint today. "I have a great respect for Judge Sparks. When Judge Sparks speaks, he speaks clearly and we understand," Breen says. He adds that Sparks’ comments were "directed at the lawyers and not the client," and in the new complaint he will remove the verbiage Sparks didn’t like. "We're going to comply with the judge's request," says Breen.
In a statement regarding Armstrong's complaint, Travis T. Tygart, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency’s chief executive officer, writes: "USADA was built by athletes on the principles of fairness and integrity. Like previous lawsuits aimed at concealing the truth, this lawsuit is without merit and we are confident the courts will continue to uphold the established rules which provide full constitutional due process and are designed to protect the rights of clean athletes and the integrity of sport."
UPDATE: On July 10, Armstrong's attorneys filed a 25-page amended complaint in which Armstrong alleges the USADA violated his due process rights and seeks a temporary injunction barring the agency from punishing him based on its allegations that he violated doping rules. Armstrong also seeks to stay a Saturday deadline the USADA set for him to accept or arbitrate the proposed punishments.
-- Miriam Rozen