AMA Announces Settlement Of Edmondson Case For $3 Million

AMA Announces Settlement Of Edmondson Case For $3 Million

© 2001, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.

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The AMA just issued a press release announcing that it had settled the Edmondson v. AMA case for $3 million.

Reached by phone, Edmondson said that he had not signed any papers and that an agreement on the dollar amount included a provisio that he not release any information on the deal until the close of business Monday.

The text of the AMA release follows:

“The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) and Roger Edmondson have agreed to an out-of-court settlement in a case regarding the AMA’s professional road-racing program.

“The original lawsuit, filed in 1996, arose from the termination in 1994 of contracts under which Edmondson functioned as manager for the AMA’s national championship road-racing series and administrator for several classes included in that series. At the time of his departure from those positions, the AMA entered into negotiations with Edmondson and made a financial offer to terminate the relationship.

“Those negotiations were unsuccessful, and Edmondson ultimately formed the North American Sport Bike series, signing contracts with several racetracks that had previously hosted AMA road races. Subsequently, most of those racetracks terminated those contracts and returned to the AMA schedule.

“Edmondson then sued the AMA, alleging that the Association had interfered with his racing program. In 1998, he received a judgment in federal court in North Carolina in which the AMA was ordered to pay damages that, with interest and attorney fees, would total well in excess of $3 million. The U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, subsequently reviewed that ruling and sent it back to the lower court to correct mistakes in several areas.

“A new trial in the case was scheduled to take place in July, but the two sides reached a settlement agreement June 7 that ends the litigation and resolves the disputes between them. Under the terms of the settlement, the AMA has agreed to pay Edmondson $3 million.

“‘This agreement concludes a case that was based on business dealings that took place many years ago,’ said Rick Gray, chairman of the AMA Board of Trustees. ‘As we looked ahead to the prospect of a third legal review of this matter, we decided to make a very difficult decision and bring this litigation to a close.

“‘Our efforts to settle this matter when it first arose were unsuccessful and resulted in the lawsuit,’ Gray added. ‘The amount we have offered in settlement, though large, is substantially less than that which was originally awarded, when interest, counsel fees and the portion of the judgment affirmed on appeal are factored in. Moving forward from this settlement, the AMA’s staff and trustees will continue to fulfill our primary mission — protecting motorcyclists’ right to ride.’

“The entire amount of the original judgment and interest was budgeted by the Association and set aside when the original ruling was handed down. Since then, the AMA’s Board of Trustees has continued to review and revise policies concerning the way the Association enters into contracts with those providing services.

“‘Through this protracted litigation, the AMA’s trustees and staff have resolved to continue their work to protect the Association from situations like this,’ said Gray. ‘In today’s litigious climate, it’s virtually impossible to avoid lawsuits, but the Association has taken steps to guard against a recurrence.’

“While the case has continued, the AMA has moved forward with its competition program, creating a professional racing subsidiary under the direction of a separate board. In all forms of racing, the Association has attracted new sponsors, increased rider payouts, expanded the fan base and substantially upgraded television coverage.

“‘This new subsidiary has allowed the AMA, under the leadership of President Robert Rasor, to focus on its mission of protecting motorcyclists’ right to ride, while AMA Pro Racing has expanded opportunities for racers, teams, promoters and fans involved in motorcycle competition,’ Gray concluded.”

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