The Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association has taken Icon Health and Fitness to court for its 11th-hour cancellation of the 20,000-square-foot Icon booth at The Super Show.
"Icon is an important part of the sporting goods industry and has contributed to the success and growth of The Super Show," said John Riddle, SGMA president. "We certainly hope this situation will be resolved to our mutual satisfaction. We look forward to Icon rejoining the fitness industry at The Super Show 2002."
The suit, now being removed to the federal court upon request of Icon legal counsel, was originally filed by Florida-based SGMA against Utah-based Icon in the state court in Broward County, Florida. SGMA attorney Sam Erkonen told SNEWS that defendants in different states have the right to request a removal to a federal court. No trial date has been scheduled yet, he said, because of the removal to federal jurisdiction.
"We just have to see what the new judge says," said Erkonen. "A lot of (the timeline) is dependent on the judge's caseload."
The case, which will now be heard by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Miami Division, was filed by SGMA on March 26, charging breach of contract.
According to the SGMA, "the current legal action involving The Super Show and Icon Health and Fitness is based on legitimate contractual concerns. When a contract is executed, both parties are expected to honor their contractual commitments. Icon was not singled out nor dealt with differently than any other exhibitor at The Super Show."
Another prominent no-show was Life Fitness, although its booth at 2,000 square feet didn't leave the gaping hole that Icon's vacant spread did. Life Fitness also chose to cancel in the mid-fall, but did not issue any public statements. Icon, on the other hand, issued a press release on Dec. 15 announcing its withdrawal from the late January show in terms that didn't please SGMA: "The Super Show as a venue is no longer the best option for Icon to present new products and ideas to its customers," the release quoted Scott Watterson, Icon chairman and CEO.
The SGMA filled the Icon space with a tennis and racquet practice court, and some strategically placed garbage cans and signs. Still, it was an obvious hole.
Says Icon legal counsel Brad Bearnson to SNEWS about the suit, "The matter is being handled, and we feel confident that we will resolve this dispute quickly."
In the breach-of-contract suit, the SGMA is asking for $193,212.50 for money lost by the SGMA due to the space cancellation, Erkonen said. In addition, the SGMA is asking for "consequential damages," which will include other expenses incurred, such as attorneys' fees, he said. That amount will need to be proved at a potential trial, unless a settlement is reached first.