Carney R. Shegerian, founder of Shegerian & Associates, a Santa Monica-based law firm specializing in employee rights, has issued a statement aimed at all US employees in light of the current news coverage surrounding Lance Armstrong. In his statement, Shegerian singles out former Armstrong teammate Floyd Landis for bravely acting as a whistleblower in the case surrounding Armstrong and his team and refers to Landis as “an inspiration to employees nationwide who choose not to simply ignore wrongdoing by their employers.”
On January 17, 2013, Liz Clarke reported in the Washington Post: “Landis has targeted not only Lance Armstrong but also three of Armstrong’s closest associates … in the whistleblower lawsuit that has been under judicial seal for more than 2 1/2 years.” She noted that in the suit, Landis “claims that Armstrong and his associates defrauded the federal government by accepting roughly $30 million in sponsorship money to bankroll a U.S. Postal Service Pro Cycling team that was fueled by performance-enhancing drugs.”
Clarke wrote: “Landis was a member of the U.S. Postal Service team from 2002 through 2004, and his whistleblower suit details his own use of banned substances and blood-doping practices along with numerous instances of Armstrong and other teammates doing the same…. Landis was stripped of his 2006 Tour de France championship after a positive drug test. He now stands to collect millions if his case, filed under the federal False Claims Act, goes forward and succeeds.”
“While Mr. Landis participated in illegal performance enhancing activity himself, and is indeed a controversial figure in the world of cycling, he clearly reached a point where he no longer could sit idle,” said Shegerian. “He was the brave cyclist who finally stepped forward and admitted what was going on in his sport and with his team, and is likely now to benefit financially and legally as a result. There’s an important lesson to be learned here, and that is that when the truth finally does come out, the whistleblowers must be protected by the law, and can stand to benefit tremendously if their careers have suffered as a result of their whistleblowing.”
Landis is seeking repayment of the roughly $30 million in U.S. Postal Service sponsorship money, as well as additional penalties and reimbursement of his legal fees.