The wheels of justice may grind slowly most of the time, but not yesterday in Federal District Court Judge Sam Sparks’ court. Sparks is a Federal District Court Judge for the Western District of Texas. Lawyers for Lance Armstrong filed an eighty page complaint to stop the United States Anti-Doping Agency from investigating allegations that Armstrong used performance enhancing drugs. Not long after the complaint was filed Judge Sparks entered an order of dismissal without prejudice. In Judge Sparks’ view Armstrong’s lawyers violated the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 8(a) and (d)(1) by putting far too many details in their complaint and did so as an act of public relations rather than responsible lawyering. In high profile cases lawyering often does involve public relations. There is, after all, a court of public opinion in which one’s client’s reputation can be quickly and often unfairly convicted and sentenced without right of meaningful appeal. So it if Armstrong’s lawyers had the court of public opinion in mind as they drafted their complaint, it is perhaps understandable if they tried to get a head start in the court of public opinion by laying out their case and criticizing the USADA before the USDA files charges against Armstrong. But by entering an order of dismissal so quickly after the complaint was filed, Judge Sparks made it clear that his court is not the place to try to combat the inherent unfairness of the court of public opinion.
It will be interesting to compare the revised complaint to the original.