British Columbia

Steve Nash's lawsuit against B.C. fitness clubs tossed out of court

A B.C. Supreme Court judge has dismissed retired basketball superstar Steve Nash's lawsuit to get his name removed from a chain of fitness clubs in B.C.

Nash sued former business partners to have name and image removed from chain of B.C. fitness clubs

Steve Nash's lawsuit against a chain of B.C. fitness clubs has been dismissed. (Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press)

Steve Nash's lawsuit to have his name and image scrubbed from a popular chain of B.C. fitness clubs has been thrown out by a B.C. Supreme Court judge.

Last October Nash — a retired NBA star and Victoria native — sued his former business partners at Steve Nash Fitness World for breach of contract. He sought to have his name and image removed from 21 fitness clubs across B.C. and sought damages.

There are 21 Steve Nash Fitness World locations in B.C. (Steve Nash Fitness World)

In his suit, Nash and his holding company alleged since his company was no longer directly involved in the ongoing business of the club, the club no longer had a right to use his endorsement.

In February 2017, his partners countersued Nash, alleging Nash's public repudiation of the fitness club had damaged its reputation and brand.

In a judgment Wednesday, Justice Nitya Iyer dismissed Nash's case, saying the defendants are allowed to continue to use Nash's endorsement as per the terms of the original contract.

Timeline of events

In her judgment, Iyer outlined the sequence of events leading up to the lawsuit.

The endorsement deal began in 2006 between Nash's holding company and a group of Vancouver-based fitness club owners. Nash's company gave the club owners an exclusive right in B.C. to use Nash's name and image to promote their fitness clubs until March 21, 2022. His company also received shares in the fitness clubs.

In December 2009, the fitness chain sold its shares to a different company. Nash's company retained its shares and agreed to transfer his endorsement to the new owners.

The fitness chain can continue to use Steve Nash's name and image as per the terms of the endorsement. (Steve Nash Fitness World)

Then, in September 2014, the shares were transferred again to the current owners, SNFW Fitness BC Ltd. The company also acquired all of Nash's shares.

Representatives from Nash's company — and Nash himself — signed an agreement to acknowledge and confirm the transfer of the endorsement to the new owners.

In her judgment, Iyer said Nash's company failed to show any evidence to support its claims there was a breach of contract or any evidence that Nash was no longer directly involved in the business operations of the clubs.

She added, plainly, that Nash himself had confirmed in writing that SNFW had acquired his endorsement agreement.

Nash was named the NBA's most valuable player in 2005 and 2006 — the first Canadian to receive the award.