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Plainte de l'Etat américain contre Armstrong

28 pages
Defendants. The United States brings this action to recover treble damages and civil penalties pursuant to the False Claims Act, 3l U.S.C. 3729-33 (the "FCA"), recover and to damages,$$ restitution, and other monetary relief under the federal common law theories of fraud, breach of contract, payment by mistake and unjust enrichment. I. NATURE OF ACTION l. The causes of action asserted by the United States arise from false or fraudulent claims that Defendants Tailwind Sports (collectively, Corp., Tailwind Sports LLC "Tailwind"), Lance Armstrong and Johan Bruyneel submitted or caused to be submitted to the United States (the Postal Service "USPS" or "Postal Service"). 2. From 1996 through 2004, the professional USPS sponsored a cycling team owned by Tailwind its predecessors (the and "USPS cycling team"). Lance Armstrong was the lead rider on the team, and Johan Bruyneel was its directeur sportif, or manager. TAILWIND SPORTS CORP.,TAILWIND??ECF??Plaintiffs,??JOHAN BRUYNEEL,SPORTS LLC,LANCE ARNISTRONG,andil Action No.10-00976(RLW)V.IPLAINT.LANDIS,??FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIAC?sUNITED STATES UNITED STATES'CO?WUNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT{JURY TRIAL DEMANDED}?? 3. The sponsorship agreements between the gave USPS and Tailwind the USPS 1 certain promotional rights, including the right to prominent placement of the USPS logo on the2 3 cycling team's uniform.
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Defendants.
The United States brings this action to recover treble damages and civil penalties
pursuant to the False Claims Act, 3l U.S.C. 3729-33 (the "FCA"), recover and to damages,$$
restitution, and other monetary relief under the federal common law theories of fraud, breach of
contract, payment by mistake and unjust enrichment.
I. NATURE OF ACTION
l. The causes of action asserted by the United States arise from false or fraudulent
claims that Defendants Tailwind Sports (collectively, Corp., Tailwind Sports LLC "Tailwind"),
Lance Armstrong and Johan Bruyneel submitted or caused to be submitted to the United States
(the Postal Service "USPS" or "Postal Service").
2. From 1996 through 2004, the professional USPS sponsored a cycling team owned
by Tailwind its predecessors (the and "USPS cycling team"). Lance Armstrong was the lead
rider on the team, and Johan Bruyneel was its directeur sportif, or manager.
TAILWIND SPORTS CORP.,TAILWIND??ECF??Plaintiffs,??JOHAN BRUYNEEL,SPORTS LLC,LANCE ARNISTRONG,andil Action No.10-00976(RLW)V.IPLAINT.LANDIS,??FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIAC?sUNITED STATES UNITED STATES'CO?WUNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT{JURY TRIAL DEMANDED}??3. The sponsorship agreements between the gave USPS and Tailwind the USPS
1
certain promotional rights, including the right to prominent placement of the USPS logo on the2
3 cycling team's uniform. Each of the agreements required the team to follow the rules of
4
governing cycling's bodies, which prohibited the performance use of certain enhancing
5
substances and methods.
A
4. Riders on the USPS-sponsored team, including Armstrong, knowingly caused
7
6 material violations of the sponsorship agreements by regularly and systematically employing
9 banned substances and methods to enhance their performance. Moreover, Bruyneel knew that
10
team members were using performance enhancing substances and facilitated the practice. As a
11
result, the Defendants submitted or caused to be submitted to the United States false or
1a
fraudulent invoices for payment. The Defendants also made false statements, both publicly andL3
l4 directly to the USPS, that were intended to hide the team's misconduct so that those invoices
15 would be paid.
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paid 5. The USPS approximately million $40 to sponsor the USPS cycling team
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from 1998 2004. through Because the Defendants' misconduct undermined the value of the
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sponsorship to the USPS, the United States suffered damage in that it did not receive the value L9 o
20 the services for which it bargained. Moreover, because they knowingly provided services that
2t
materially failed to comply with the USPS sponsorship agreement, the Defendants were unjustly
22
enriched to the extent of the payments and other benefits they received from the USPS, either
23
directly or indirectly.
24
II. PARTIES25
zb 6. The United States, through the Postal Service, operates the nation's postal system.
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The Postal Service is an independent establishment of the executive branch of the Government
28the United States, with the statutory power to prescribe postage the amount of and how it is to be
1
paid, to hold a legal or beneficial interest in property, and to enter into contracts. 39 U.S.C. SS
3 201, 401, 404, 2601, and 2605.
4 7. Relator Floyd Landis was a rider on the USPS team from 2002 through2004.
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June 10, 2010, Landis filed an action alleging violations of the FCA on behalf of himself and
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United States Government pursuant qui to the tam provisions of the FCA, 3l U.S.C. $7
3730(bXl). At the time he filed, Landis was a resident I of California. He currently resides in
9 Connecticut.
10
8. Defendant Tailwind Sports LLC is a limited liability company organized under
1"1
the laws of the State of Delaware. It was formed on April 5,1999, and, at that time, was known
L2
as DFP Cycling LLC. On January 19, 2001, it changed its name to Tailwind Sports LLC, and on13
L4 July 16, 2002, it merged with and into Tailwind Sports Corporation. Tailwind Sports LLC
15
and operated the USPS cycling team from 1999 until the merger in2002.
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9. Defendant Tailwind Sports Corporation is a corporation organized and existing
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under the laws of the State of Delaware. It was formed on June 25,2002, and dissolved by filing
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a certificate of dissolution with the Secretary of the State of Delaware on December 31, 2007 .19
20 Delaware law provides for the continuation of corporations for a period years of three after their
2t
dissolution, however, for the purpose of prosecuting and defending lawsuits. 8 Del. C. 278.$
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The qui tam action filed by Landis was filed within this period. abatement Tailwind Sports
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Corporation owned and operated the USPS cycling team beginning with its merger with
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Tailwind Sports LLC in 2002.25
26 10. Defendant Lance Armstrong is a resident of Texas and a former professional
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cyclist. Armstrong was the lead rider for the usPS cycling team from 1999 through 2004. As a
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???nresult of his doping conduct, which forms a substantial part of the basis for the United States,1
claims in this action, Armstrong's results professional 2 as a cyclist after August l, 1998 have bee
3 disqualified and he is subject to a lifetime ban from competitive pursuant sports to the World
4
Anti-Doping Code.
5
1 l. information On and belief, defendant Bruyneel is a resident of the United
6
Kingdom. He was the directeur sportif of the USPS cycling team from 1999 through 2004 and7
an employee o of Tailwind from 1999 through2007.
9 ilI. JURISDICTION AND VENUE
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jurisdiction 12. This Court has over the subject matter of this action pursuant to 28
11
U.S.C. 1331 and 1345.$$
l2
jurisdiction 13. This Court has personal over Tailwind, Armstrong and Bruyneel13
14 pursuant to 3l U.S.C. 3732(a) because Tailwind regularly transacted $ business in connection
15 with the sponsorship agreement in the District of Columbia and submitted the false claims for
16
payment to the USPS in the District of Columbia. Bruyneel's contacts with the United States
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are such that the exercise jurisdiction of this Court's over him in this matter does not offend dueL8
process. Bruyneel was employed by Tailwind, 19 a company incorporated in the State of Delaware
20 whose principal place of business was in the United States. The USPS made payments to
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Tailwind from a location within the United States and, as required by the agreement between
Tailwind and the USPS, those payments were received at locations within the United States.
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Bruyneel was required perform to a substantial portion of his employment duties in the United24
25 States, and in each of his employment agreements with Tailwind, he agreed to submit to the
26 jurisdiction of the courts of the State of Texas.
27
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414. venue in the District of columbia is proper as to all Defendants under 31 U.S.c.1
3732 and 28 u.s.c. 1391(bX2) (3) 2 $ and because Tailwind $ regularly transacted business in
3 cormection with the sponsorship agreement in the District of Columbia and submitted the f-alse
4
claims for payment to the USPS in the District of columbia. In addition, venue is proper as to
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Bruyneel pursuant to g 28 U.S.C. l39l(c)(3).
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IV. THESPONSORSHIPAGREEMENT
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8 I 5. In 1995, the USPS entered an agreement with a predecessor to Tailwind,
9 Montgomery Sports, ("Montgomery LLC sports"), pursuant to which the USpS agreed to pay
10Sports in exchange for certain promotional rights, including the prominent
11
placement of the USPS logo on the cycling team's uniform and the provision of hospitatity
a2
services in connection with team events (the "1995 Agreement"). 13 The initial agreement expired
74 on December 3 I 1996, but was subject , to automatic renewal on a year-to-year basis unless the
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Postal postal Service elected not to renew. The Service allowed the agreement to renew each
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year through 2000.
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18 The 1995 Agreement required that:
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The performance of the obligations ofthe parties under this20
Agreement shall at all times and in all events be subject to
compliance with all applicable 2t rules of the Union Cycliste
Internationale, the Federation Internationale du Cvclisme
22 professiona.l Professionel; the United States Cycling Federation,
Inc., the Intemational Olympic Committee, the Uniied States23
Olympic Committee, the Intemational Amateur Cycling
Federation, the United States Cycling Federation and all other
goveming organizations.
25
17' At the time the 1995 Agreement was executed, and at all 26 times relevant to the
united states' claims, the rules applicable to the Union cycliste Internationale (ucl) and
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16Intemational Olympic (IOC) Committee forbade the use of certain performance enhancing drugs
1
and prohibited practices other known to enhance rider performance.
3 18. In 2000, the Postal Service and Tailwind (then "DFP known as Cycling,,) entered
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a four-year agreement for the 2001 through 2004 (the cycling seasons "2000 Agreement"). The
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2000 Agreement retained requirement the from the 1995 Agreement that the team adhere to the
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rules of the UCI, IOC, and the other bodies that govem intemational cycling.
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8 19. In November 2000, prior to execution ofthe 2000 Agreement, various media
9 outlets reported that French authorities had begun an investigation into altegations that
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Armstrong and the USPS cycling team used banned substances in winning the 2000 Tour de
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France. Although the Defendants vehemently denied the allegations, the Postal Service was
t2
concemed about them, and consequently inserted into the sponsorship agreement several13
t4 additional provisions relating to the use ofbanned substances and methods.
L5 20. Specifically, the following provisions were included among the 2000
16
Agreement's events of defauh:
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(iv) The Company fails to take immediate action withour
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notification by the Sponsor in a case ofa rider or Team offense
related to a morals or drug clause violation.19
20 (v) There publicity is negative associated with an individual
rider or team support personnel, either permanent or temporary,
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due to misconduct such as, but not limited to, failed drug or
medical tests, alleged possession, 22 use or sale of banned substances,
or conviction of a crime.
23
24 In addition, the 2000 Agreement included the following paragraphs:
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The Company represents that each rider on the Team has a morals26
and drug clause that allows the Company to suspend or terminate
27 the rider for cause which shall include items such as (l) conviction
ofa felony; (2) acts that require the Team to suspend or terminate a
2A
??
??rider under the applicable rules of the Union Cyclist Internationale;
l_
the Federation Internationale du Cyclisme Professionel; the United
States Professional Cycling Federation, Inc.; the International
Olympic Committee; the International Amateur Cycling
3 Federation; the United States Cycling Federation and all other
governing applicable organizations; (3) failure pass to drug or
4
medical tests; (4) inappropriate drug conduct prejudicial to the
Team, or the Postal Service, which is in violation of Team rules or5
commonly accepted standards of morality; (5) gross and neglect of
5 the rider's duty.
1
If any rider on the Team is found guilty of such offense, the
U Company agrees to take appropriate action within (30) thirty days.
9 22. At the time the agreement was executed, and for a period of more than two years
l_0
thereafter, Armstrong's agreement with Tailwind did not contain a morals and drug clause as
11
required by the above provision.
l2
provision 23. The cited in paragraph 16 was a material term of both the 199513
l4 Agreement the 2000 and Agreement.
L5 24. The provisions cited in paragraphs 20 and 2l were material terms of the 2000
l_6
Agreement and were added to that agreement specifically because the USPS did not wish to
77
sponsor the cycling team if it was engaged in the use of banned substances or methods.
18
25. The 2000 Agreement called for the Postal Service to pay Tailwind 79 $31,593,000
20 over its four-year term. In addition to quarterly sponsorship payments, the Postal Service was
27
required to establish an annual pool bonus for riders and to junior sponsor a cycling team
zz
operated by Tailwind.
z)
26. From 1998 through2004, the USPS paid Tailwind and its predecessors24
approximately million. z5 $40 That amount represented more than 50 percent of Tailwind's
25 revenue during that time period. Tailwind used the Postal Service sponsorship fees to, among
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other pay things, Armstrong's salary, which was $ 17,915,000.00 (not including bonuses) during
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7period paid the from 1998 through 2004. Tailwind Bruyneel at least in salary and$1,700,000
paid bonuses between 2000 and 2004, and also at least $1,000,000 to Cycling Services
Corporation, a company owned and controlled by Bruyneel.
V. PROHIBITED CONDUCT BY THE USPS CYCLING TEAM
The Team's Doping Conduct Generallv
27. From at least 1998 through 2004, the USPS cycling team routinely engaged in the
performance-enhancing use of drugs and other conduct it knew to be prohibited under the rules
of the IOC and UCI. The use ofthese banned substances and methods was itself a violation of
Tailwind's agreements with the USPS, was Tailwind's as failure to take action against riders
known to have engaged in such conduct. Notwithstanding Tailwind's knowing failure to comply
with the material terms of its contract with the USPS, it submitted claims for payment to the
?? USPS, which the USPS paid in reliance upon Defendants' express and implied denials ofthe
?? prohibited conduct and the terms of Tailwind's contracts.
28, Among the prohibited substances the USPS team used and methods it employed
were:
A. Ery.thropoietin, or "EPO," is a hormone that increases the production of
oxygen-carrying red blood cells in the body, which enhances an athlete's ability to compete in
endurance sports by increasing the oxygen carrying capacity of his or her blood. An athlete's
use ofEPO has effect the ofelevating hemoglobin concentration and hematocrit levels (or
packed cell volume), which is the proportion ofblood volume that is occupied by red blood cells.
The use of EPO by cyclists was prohibited by the IOC and UCI from I 998 ro 2004, and is still
prohibited.
261184225284243202161327122511231021919817765B. Human growth hornone, or "HGH," stimulates an athlete's muscle
1
growth. prior Typically, an athlete will inject HGH to training in order to aid muscle growth2
3 during training, it but can also be used during competition to speed up recovery from fatigue.
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The HGH prohibited use of by cyclists was by the IOC and UCI from 1998 to 2004, and is still
5
prohibited.
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C. Anabolic steroids, including testosterone, can enhance athletic
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performance in by aiding muscle development and recovery. The use of anabolic steroids by
9 prohibited cyclists was by the IOC and UCI from 1998 to 2004, and is still prohibited.
10
D. Corticosteroids, such as cortisone, help to reduce inflammation and pain
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performance. and can enhance athletic The use of corticosteroids by cyclists was prohibited by
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IOC from 1998 prohibited.the and UCI to2004, and is still
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a4 E. "Blood doping" refers to the practice of extracting one's own blood for
15
later re-infusion immediately before or during competition. Like EPO, it has the effect of
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increasing the red blood cell and hemoglobin concentrations, which enhances the oxygen
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carrying capacity ofan athlete's blood. Blood doping by cyclists was prohibited by the IOC and
18
UCI from 1998 to 2004, and is still prohibited.19
29. The use ofone or more ofthe methods or practices paragraph defined in 28 will
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be refened to herein as "doping."
22
30. Each ofthe Defendants knew from 1998 through 2004 that doping was prohibited
23
by the rules of the UCI and IOC. Each of the Defendants also knew during period the same that
the USPS could terminate 25 the sponsorship agreement if the team engaged in material doping
26 violations.
2'7
2a
9Armstrong his fellow 31. Nevertheless, and USPS team members engaged in doping
1
on a regular period and consistent basis throughout the from I 998 through 2004 with the
1 knowledge and assistance of each of the Defendants. At least ten team riders engaged in
4
practices period.sustained doping during that
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32. The doping conduct alleged by the United States consists of more than the
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isolated conduct of individual team riders. Rather, it reflects a coordinated effort theby
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Defendants to flout the rules of professional cycling period 8 throughout the from 1998 to 2004,
9 period and to hide their rule-breaking during that and for years afterward. Not only did
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Armstrong personally engage in doping conduct, but he and Bruyneel both knew about and
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facilitated doping by other members of the USPS team. Moreover, team doctors Pedro Celaya
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and Luis Garcia del Moral, team trainer Jose Marti, "Pepe" and other employees of the USPS
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3.4 provided team banned substances to team riders and assisted riders in their use ofbanned
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practices.substances and
L5
33. The USPS team members also received substantial doping advice and support
1-7
from sports doctor Michele Ferrari. Specifically, Ferrari instructed team members about when
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and how to dope in order to maximize performance enhancement while minimizing detectionL9
ZU provided risk, team members with EPO and other doping products, injected cyclists with those
2t
products, helped and team members blood dope by extracting and re-injecting their blood.
))
Ferrari provided such services to at least six members of the USPS team. He was invited to and
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attended team training camps, and was reimbursed by Tailwind for some of his expenses.
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34. Notwithstanding 25 its obligation pursuant to the sponsorship agreement to ensure
26 performed that the team according to the rules of the IOC and UCI and to take immediate action
27
28
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