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Venue At Issue in LeMond, Trek Lawsuit

Published May 26, 2008

ST.PAUL, MN (BRAIN)—A district court judge is scheduled to hear arguments this morning in Minnesota as to whether a lawsuit between LeMond Cycling and Trek Bicycle Corporation should be heard in that state or in Wisconsin.

Trek Bicycle Corporation sued LeMond Cycling on April 8 for breach of contract, seeking to end its licensing agreement with three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond. That case is pending in the Western District Court of Wisconsin.

The next day, LeMond filed a countersuit against Trek Bicycle Corporation in Minnesota District Court alleging that Trek failed to exert its best efforts regarding the LeMond brand resulting in lost revenue. LeMond’s attorneys also asked the judge declare that LeMond Cycling did not breach its contract with Trek, and issue an injunction requiring Trek to comply with its contractual obligations including promoting the LeMond brand and developing and planning for new products.

Attorneys for Trek have asked the judge to move this case to Wisconsin out of convenience of the parties and witnesses involved.

“The operative facts underlying the litigation—whether Trek utilized its ‘best efforts’ to promote the LeMond brand—occurred in Wisconsin. Nearly all of the key witnesses and documents are located at Trek’s headquarters in Waterloo, Wisconsin. In addition, any non-party witnesses that may be called would likely be subject to the Wisconsin federal court’s subpoena power,” Trek’s attorney Erik Salveson wrote in a motion to the court.

Salveson also says that LeMond Cycling could have filed the lawsuit in Wisconsin where most of the claims allegedly occurred.

LeMond's attorneys, on the other hand, argue that there is no basis for the case to be transferred since LeMond Cycling is a Minnesota company that was incorporated in the state in 1995.

A transfer to Wisconsin would shift the inconvenience from Trek, a $700 million company, to LeMond Cycling, a $15 million company with two full-time employees and one part-time employee, LeMond’s lawyer Denise Rahne wrote in a memo opposing Trek’s motion to transfer the case.

“When it comes to trial, if a Trek employee must travel to participate, Trek’s operations can continue largely undisturbed. Should the two full-time and one part-time employees of LeMond Cycling be forced to travel, the company’s ability to operate will be much more severely hampered,” Rahne wrote.

A motions hearing to discuss the venue issue is scheduled at 8 a.m. before Judge Richard H. Kyle in Minnesota District Court.

—Nicole Formosa

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