The original situation arose after Nash filed a lawsuit against Steve Nash Fitness World (SNFW) & Sports Club , claiming that his former business partners had breached a contract by continuing to use his name after he left the organization and sold his shares.
The suit sought damages, costs, and an injunction on the continued use of his name for the gym’s branding and promotions.
However, the judge’s decision last summer sided with the defendants, namely SNFW, NBA Sacramento Kings co-owner Mark Mastrov, and gym founder Leonard Schlemm.
Nash appealed that decision, and on Wednesday won an appeal of the ruling that threw out his lawsuit.
The decision was handed down by Justice Richard Goepel, who based the decision on a number of reasons.
In the decision, Goepel wrote that the underlying issue in this litigation “is whether under California law a business can continue to use the endorsement of a celebrity when the celebrity is no longer using the business’ product.”
The question comes in light of an agreement that was made between Nash’s holding company (B & L) and Vancouver Bay Clubs (VBCL) back in 2006.
“VBCL was incorporated for the purpose of operating the Facilities,” wrote Goepel.
“Under the License Agreement, B & L, as licensor, agreed to furnish VBCL with an exclusive right and licence within British Columbia to use Mr. Nash’s name, image, and reputation to promote the Facilities until March 31, 2022, with an option for VBCL to renew for a further five years,” the court document reads.
“B & L sought an injunction preventing SNFW from continuing to use Mr. Nash’s name and reputation to promote its fitness facilities,” it furthers. “B & L alleged the continued use of Mr. Nash’s endorsement contravened California law—the law governing the parties’ agreement.”
Goepel wrote that the judge “misapplied” the test for summary judgment by placing the onus on B & L.
Although the defendants showed the endorsement was properly obtained, he added, “they failed to provide a complete answer to the allegation that continued use of the endorsement contravened California law.”
Nash opened his first fitness club within the then-new Hudson condominium building in downtown Vancouver in 2007. This 40,000-square-foot, three-storey sports club is considered as the flagship location of the fitness gym chain.