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Floyd Landis has dropped his federal lawsuit against the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, according to documents signed by both parties on Thursday.
Landis had sued earlier in September, seeking to overturn his two-year suspension for doping at the Tour de France and a $100,000 penalty imposed by the International Court of Arbitration for Sport in June. Landis charged that all three members of the appeals panel had conflicts of interest that would have precluded a fair hearing in the matter. Those conflicts, Landis charged, went unreported by each of the three.
In June, the CAS panel upheld Landis’ two-year suspension, the negation of his Tour de France win and imposed a $100,000 penalty to offset the costs of prosecuting a case that the panel said was made unnecessarily complex by Landis’ “scattershot” defense.
In an interview with ESPN, Landis said that while he hoped to overturn the entire decision, he had realistic hopes of fighting the unprecedented financial penalty. No details of the settlement were released and a USADA spokesman declined comment as to whether Landis’ decision to withdraw the suit involved any concession on the part of the agency.
Historically, athletes suits seeking to overturn USADA, World Anti-Doping Agency and governing sports body doping rulings have had little success in U.S. or European courts.
In 2004 Spain’s David Meca-Medina and Slovenia’s Igor Majcen, two professional long-distance swimmers mounted a challenge to a CAS ruling. The European court, however dismissed the claim, but also ordered them to pay court costs for both sides, ruling that the challenge was “frivolous” in nature.
Here in the U.S., sprinter Justin Gatlin failed in his effort to overturn a CAS ruling in U.S. Federal Court. The court ruled it didn’t have jurisdiction in the matter and rejected Gatlin’s effort to overturn his CAS-imposed suspension.
One option Landis did not exercise was to file an appeal with the Switzerland’s Federal Tribunal, which may have some authority over the Swiss-based CAS.