By The Associated Press
A lawsuit alleging a former coach of the U.S. junior national cycling team injected steroids into two cyclists without their knowledge will move forward in federal court, a judge has ruled. U.S. District Judge John Kane rejected a motion by the coach, Rene Wenzel, and USA Cycling to dismiss lawsuits filed by Gregory Strock and Erich Kaiter, who allege they were given steroid injections while on the team in 1990 but were told they were receiving vitamins and cortisone.
The ruling, issued late Monday, said a jury should decide whether Strock and Kaiter waited too long to file their lawsuits, along with other issues. The judge said it was unclear when the cyclists began to believe they had been given steroids.
“The most important defense was the statute of limitations and that defense has now been destroyed,” Kaiter’s attorney, John McKendree, said Tuesday.
USA Cycling and Wenzel also had argued that the cyclists had failed to present enough evidence to show USA Cycling and Wenzel had harmed them.
Kane ruled the Strock’s evidence had problems but was sufficient to send the case to a jury. He said Kaiter had failed to show the injections caused his Crohn’s disease but that a jury should determine whether they caused a lung infection.
Crohn’s is a chronic disease that causes inflammation of the digestive or gastrointestinal tract, according to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America.
Attorneys for Strock and USA Cycling did not immediately return calls. Wenzel’s attorney, Reid Kelly, had not finished reviewing the ruling.
Both Strock and Kaiter allege they received up to three injections a day at the 1990 world championships and were told it was a safe and legal mixture of cortisone and vitamins and that they shouldn’t question the coaching staff.
Their lawsuits allege they were given injections and pills at other competitions that year.
Kaiter and Strock claim health problems related to the injections ended their elite cycling careers.
Strock claimed he began to suspect he had been injected with steroids while in medical school in 1998. Kaiter said he began to suspect he had been given steroids after he saw a Strock discussing his suspicions in a September 2000 television interview.
Related linksJudge Kane’s Ruling (Issued May 8, 2006)Sixyears later, Strock case comes to court (April 18, 2006)Wenzel denies charges (April 3, 2001)StrockSpeaks (December 29, 2000)