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Trek, LeMond settle case

Published February 1, 2010

ST.PAUL, MN (BRAIN)—Three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond and Trek Bicycle Corporation have settled their 22-month breach of contract dispute, avoiding a jury trial that was scheduled to begin on March 1.

The two sides announced the settlement in a joint press release issued on Monday. The agreement ends the 15-year-old partnership between the two, and provides $200,000 to, a charity supported by LeMond.

“Greg has a hard-won place in the Pantheon of bicycle racing, and we are proud of what we were able to accomplish together,” said Trek’s president John Burke in the press release. “Trek respects Greg’s efforts and commitment to the charitable foundation,, and Trek is pleased to lend its support to that very worthwhile endeavor.”

Trek will donate $100,000 in the next 10 days to, followed by a second donation of the same amount in a year, said James DiBoise, LeMond's attorney.

“I am pleased to resolve the issues between Trek and myself and am happy to be able to move forward with the things important in my life. I appreciate Trek’s support for the work of I take deep satisfaction in this resolution and believe it will have a positive impact on those that can benefit most from the purpose of," LeMond said in the press release.

DiBoise said LeMond planned to take some time off, but that he fully expects him to bring LeMond bicycles back to market either by himself or through a partnership with another supplier.

"Clearly we have regained rights to all the LeMond trademarks. Greg is a designer without peer among bicycle people. He actually designs his own bikes. I don't think you could repress Greg for more than a month before he starts making plans," DiBoise said.

The case settled on Friday after a week of meetings with a private mediator, DiBoise said. Prior to the mediator's involvement, DiBoise said he fully expected to take the case to trial.

"We were very heavily geared up. I was basically living with Greg while one of my partners was back in Minneapolis. We were rapidly gearing up to go to trial on March 1. All I can really say is Trek's lawyer, Ralph Weber, was a complete professional throughout. He did a bang up job with us. We happened to be using a private mediator who just wouldn't let go," DiBoise said.

Weber said he could not comment on the case beyond Monday's press release.

Trek sued LeMond Cycling in April 2008 for breach of contract seeking to end its licensing agreement with three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond. Trek partnered with LeMond in 1995 to produce road bikes under the famous American cyclist’s name. The existing licensing agreement expired this year.

Trek claims that LeMond committed multiple breaches of the agreement, which damaged the LeMond and Trek brand to the tune of more than $6 million.

LeMond countersued Trek, alleging that the bicycle company failed to satisfy its contractual obligations to promote the LeMond brand. LeMond is seeking $3 million in damages for lost international sales and $1 million for lost domestic sales.

Late last year, the case seemed to be headed toward an out-of-court resolution. In December, a U.S. magistrate judge gave attorneys a deadline to meet to discuss settling and ordered a court-supervised settlement conference. The judge later canceled that conference after the two sides began to make progress on their own with the mediator.

-Nicole Formosa

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