Gatlin finalizing lawsuit with officials

Updated: April 15, 2009, 6:46 PM ET
Associated Press

PENSACOLA, Fla. -- Former Olympic 100-meter champion Justin Gatlin is finalizing an out-of-court agreement with the U.S. Olympic Committee, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, USA Track & Field and the International Association of Athletics Federations.

Gatlin had sued those groups in federal court, saying his rights were violated under the Americans with Disabilities Act. He said he was discriminated against because his first of two doping violations, in 2001, was for taking prescribed medication to treat attention deficit disorder.

Because that penalty was on the books, his second violation, in 2006, triggered a suspension that kept him from defending his 2004 Olympic gold medal at the Beijing Games. In June 2008, the Court of Arbitration for Sport rejected Gatlin's appeal of his doping ban, and he took the matter to U.S. court.

Both USADA CEO Travis Tygart and USOC spokesman Darryl Seibel said Wednesday their groups would not enter into an agreement that would undermine the decision by CAS.

"The parties are actively engaged in discussions regarding a final, formal, out-of-court resolution of this matter, which we believe may soon be reached," Seibel wrote in an e-mail to The Associated Press.

The civil clerk for the federal court in Pensacola said the case is considered closed but is still under the court's jurisdiction until May 10. The court is waiting for the attorneys to file final paperwork stating the case is completely closed under the terms of the agreement.

"The settlement documents are not final," Gatlin's lawyer, Joe Zarzaur, wrote the AP.

U.S. District Court Judge Lacey Collier issued an order in February dismissing the case after Gatlin informed the court there was a settlement.

USA Track & Field declined to comment.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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