A Los Angeles judge has dismissed another fraud lawsuit against Lance Armstrong, ruling that the disgraced cyclist engaged in mere "puffery" and not illegal false advertising when he claimed that FRS energy products were his secret weapon for success.
Armstrong was sued last year by a group of FRS consumers who sought more than $5 million from FRS and Armstrong for misleading them into buying their products, which include energy drinks. Armstrong claimed the products were his "secret weapon" when in fact doping was his real secret weapon, according to their suit. If they had known the truth about his doping, the plaintiffs argued they wouldn’t have bought FRS products.
But federal judge Beverly Reid O’Connell disagreed with their argument.
"The court finds that defendants’ statements about a `secret weapon’ constitute non-actionable puffery," she wrote in her ruling.
Puffery is a legal concept that relates to advertising, a notion that companies can make exaggerated or boastful subjective claims about their products and not be held liable for literal definitions about them.
Armstrong acted as a spokesman and part owner of FRS, helping the company grow five-fold at the height of his fame, the suit states. But after doping evidence mounted against him in 2012, the company parted ways with him along with several others. In January 2013, after several years of denials, he finally confessed to doping in an interview with Oprah Winfrey. The suit against FRS was filed against Armstrong a month later.
Armstrong attorney Zia Modabber said the FRS case was "opportunistic" and an example of "kicking a guy when he’s down."
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