Monthly Archives: April 2019

You are browsing the site archives by month.

Armstrong fails to block bonuses challenge

A Texas appeals court has rejected Lance Armstrong’s attempts to block an arbitration panel from reviewing $US12 million ($A13 million) in bonuses paid to him by a company that wants its money back, a setback for the cyclist who is fighting multiple legal battles that could strip him of his personal fortune.


The Dallas-based Fifth Court of Appeals temporarily halted the case at Armstrong’s request in March, but ruled on Thursday it did not have jurisdiction at this stage of an arbitration matter.

A spokesman for SCA Promotions said the ruling would allow the arbitration to proceed. The ruling was a defeat for Armstrong but not a final one. State law will allow him to appeal any final judgment if the panel rules against him.

SCA Promotions wants to reopen a 2006 settlement it paid to Armstrong, and sued the cyclist after his 2013 admission to doping during his career to win seven Tour de France titles.

The arbitration panel that first approved the settlement agreed to reconsider the case, prompting Armstrong to ask the state courts to intervene. Armstrong attorney Tim Herman did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday’s ruling.

SCA and Armstrong have been battling since 2005, when the company first tried to withhold the bonus money and sought to prove he doped. Despite producing some of the most serious doping allegations at the time, SCA ultimately agreed to pay Armstrong.

Armstrong’s attorneys insist state law doesn’t allow SCA to reopen the original settlement, which included a clause that said “no party may challenge, appeal or attempt to set aside” the payment and that it was “fully and forever binding”.

But given Armstrong’s doping admission and SCA’s claims that it reached the settlement only because of fraudulent efforts by Armstrong, the arbitration panel agreed to consider the company’s case for repayment.

The appeals court said it can’t step in until there is a final judgment from the arbitration panel.

“As a general matter, an arbitration must be complete before appellate review is appropriate,” the court wrote in its opinion.

Armstrong has faced several lawsuits since admitting last year that he used steroids and other performance enhancers to win the Tour from 1999-2005.

He has settled cases with the London-based Sunday Times and Nebraska-based Acceptance Insurance. Armstrong settled with Acceptance, which paid him $US3 million ($A3.25 million) in bonuses similar to SCA, hours before he was scheduled to be questioned under oath.

He also is facing a federal whistleblower lawsuit, as the government wants to recover more than $US30 million ($A32.4 million) the US Postal Service paid to Armstrong’s teams. Potential penalties in that case could be as high as $US100 million ($A108 million).

Thwaites helps lift Swifts over Steel

The NSW Swifts have bounced back from consecutive losses courtesy of on-song goal shooter Caitlin Thwaites to notch a 65-52 victory over the Southern Steel in the trans-Tasman netball competition.


Thwaites (32 goals from 35 attempts) nailed her first 21 attempts as the Swifts raced away to a 37-24 half time lead in front of 2678 fans Canberra’s AIS Arena on Friday.

She was subbed off with the match all-but won in the third quarter, but goal attack Susan Pratley (23 from 28) ensured there was no major loss of momentum against the New Zealand side.

“She (Thwaites) was crazy. Our combination is new but we’re developing quite well,” Pratley said.

“To have such a strong target back there takes the pressure off.”

A wide-grinned Thwaites struggled to recall the last time she started a match with 21 straight goals.

“It was so great to have them bringing it to the circle edge,” she said.

“It was a really great drive to the top and we made them pay.”

Swifts captain Kim Green provided her shooters with the bulk of their opportunities, finishing with a match-high 19 goal assists.

Green said it was a marked improvement over their last two performances, which saw her side go down to the competition leading Melbourne Vixens and the fourth-placed Queensland Firebirds.

“Last week we had a big in-depth conversation after the game, there were a lot of things we did wrong,” she said.

“The want for the ball was not there … today, we were much better.”

Steel goal shooter Jhaniele Fowler-Reid (42 from 45) was kept relatively quiet compared to her usual lofty standards due to some dogged defence by Sharni Layton and Sonia Mkoloma.

She finished strong with 14 goals in the final quarter, but it was too little, too late.

The victory keeps the Swifts up in third place ahead of next Sunday’s match against the Melbourne Vixens.

Meanwhile, the Steel head to Auckland to take on the Northern Mystics.

Race to recover bodies from Korean ferry

Dive teams are racing to pull more than 100 bodies from a sunken South Korean ferry as storm clouds loom and the victims’ families angrily press officials to wrap up the recovery effort.


The confirmed death toll stood at 181, but 121 people remained unaccounted for – their bodies believed still trapped in the submerged vessel that capsized on April 16 with 476 people on board.

Although all hope of finding any survivors has been extinguished, there is still anger and deep frustration among the relatives over the pace of the recovery operation off the southern island of Jindo.

Gentle tides and good weather have helped the dive teams in recent days, but the search conditions inside the ferry are still challenging and rescuers are only managing to retrieve about 30 bodies a day.

Making up the bulk of the passengers on the 6825-tonne Sewol when it sank were 325 high school students – about 250 of whom are either confirmed or presumed dead.

On Thursday evening, a group of irate parents stormed into the Jindo office of the deputy head of the South Korean coastguard, and roughly manhandled him down to the island harbour.

He was kept there most of the night, sitting on the ground, along with coastguard chief Kim Seok-Kyun and Marine Minister Lee Ju-Young, while the relatives accused them of lying about the recovery operation and demanded they bring in more resources.

Police made no move to intervene and the three made no attempt to get away, reflecting a reluctance to antagonise the relatives in any way at a time of widespread public anger over the official response to the disaster.

The bereaved families have said they want all the remaining bodies removed from the ferry before the weekend – a demand that is unlikely to be met, especially with a bad weather front moving in.

“We know that weather conditions will worsen considerably and currents will become stronger from Saturday,” a coastguard spokesman told a press briefing.

An earlier coastguard statement said storm warnings could be issued on Saturday or Sunday for the area around the rescue site.

Rescuers have not found a single survivor since 174 people were pulled to safety on the day of the accident.

It took divers working in difficult and dangerous conditions more than two days to get into the sunken ferry and two more days to retrieve the first bodies.

Many relatives believe some of the victims may have survived for several days in trapped air pockets, but perished in the cold water after no rescue came.

As a result some have asked for autopsies to be performed, to see if it would be possible to determine the precise cause and time of death.

The Sewol’s captain, Lee Joon-Seok, and 10 crew members have been arrested on charges ranging from criminal negligence to abandoning passengers.

The captain has been particularly criticised for delaying the evacuation order until the ferry was listing so sharply that escape was almost impossible.

Tech giants settle no-poaching deal suit

Tech giants Apple, Google, Adobe and Intel have settled a lawsuit that charged they had colluded to hold salaries down by agreeing to not poach each other’s staff.


The four reached an agreement to settle all claims against them with lawyers for the plaintiffs in the case dating back to 2011, a statement from the San Francisco US district court said.

No details were given of the amounts, if any, that the four will pay to hundreds or thousands of workers covered under the class-action suit to resolve the case.

The original lawsuit alleged that senior executives of the tech giants “entered into an interconnected web of express agreements to eliminate competition among them for skilled labour.”

The conspiracy allegedly involved agreements not to recruit each other’s employees, to notify each other when making an offer to another’s employee, and, when seeing an employee in negotiations with one company, not to make a counter-offer to the employee.

“The intended and actual effect of these agreements was to fix and suppress employee compensation, and to impose unlawful restrictions on employee mobility,” the suit said.

Three other companies originally named in the suit, Intuit, Lucasfilm and Pixar, settled their cases last July for a collective $US20 million ($A21.61 million).

That settlement noted that they accounted for less than eight per cent of all those covered in the class-action suit, suggesting that Thursday’s settlement by the four others could be much higher.

The case said that Pixar and Lucasfilm were the first to make secret pacts to suppress worker pay and mobility, when late Apple founder Steve Jobs was head of Pixar in 2005-2006.

Shortly after that deal was set, Jobs took Apple into a no-poach deal with Adobe, the software company, according to the suit.

The case against the remaining four companies in the suit gained strength in January when the judge in the case, Lucy Koh, cited emails from Jobs requesting in 2007 that Google stop recruiting Apple workers.