Lance Armstrong set to avoid court date as Judge urges Greg LeMond and Trek to settle

Settlement conference set for late January for parties to try to hammer out agreement

by Simon_MacMichael   December 3, 2009  

Greg Lemond gives Lance the big stare

A judge in the Minnesota has ordered former Tour de France winner Greg LeMond and bicycle manufacturer Trek to attend a settlement conference on 28 January 2010 and thereby avoid what is expected to be a stormy trial between the parties later in the year.

We reported in detail last month on the background to the dispute, which arose from the contract Trek had with LeMond to manufacture and distribute the range of bicycles that bear his name.

Trek sought to terminate that agreement last year, claiming that LeMond failed to honour his part of the contract, including remarks he made in an interview with The Sunday Times in 2001 regarding Trek-sponsored Lance Armstrong’s links with the Italian sports doctor Michele Ferrari.

LeMond, meanwhile, claims that the range had not been properly supported by the manufacturer due to pressure exerted by Armstrong, who rode the brand’s bikes to his seven consecutive Tour victories and remains its leading brand ambassador today.

Suggestions are that if the case were to go to full trial, Armstrong would be called as a witness, but Magistrate Judge Janie S Mayeron is eager for the parties to reach settlement before that happens, according to the website of the US trade publication Bicycle Retailer and Industry News.

Under an order signed by the judge, lawyers from both sides will be required to meet face to face by January 18 at the latest to undertake “in a full and frank discussion of settlement.”

Should they be unable to reach settlement as a result of their meeting, each attorney will need to supply the court with a confidential letter outlining progress made,the issues they consider to be outstanding, the merits and otherwise of their client’s case and an outline of testimony that will be provided by witnesses with respect to quantum of damages ahead of the January 28 settlement conference.

Should the case still be unresolved after that, a full trial is expected in the Spring, with a jury making the ultimate decision.