Dimond Bicycles, a brand under the banner of Ruster Sports, LLC, has sued professional athlete Jordan Rapp for breaching his personal services contract.
Jordan Rapp – a professional triathlete who is also chief technologist at Slowtwitch.com – responded to the lawsuit by outlining his case for leaving Ruster Sports on a post on the Slowtwitch reader forum, where he also asked for financial help for legal fees via an online fundraising site.
The basis for Ruster Sports’ lawsuit is a breach of contract, that Rapp committed an “unlawful act" by leaving his contract before its termination date. Rapp’s stated reason for leaving, outlined in his forum post, is that Dimond breached the contract by not providing product suitable for training and racing.
Certain readers are unhappy that Rapp did not disclose to them the depth of difficulties he had with Dimond bikes when asked about them by readers on the Slowtwitch forum. Rapp acknowledged this and responded with, "Denial. I had forced myself to believe that the frames were sound and that I had been able to 'fix' the defects."
Rapp’s exit from Dimond was proximate to his entering into a relationship with Diamondback, a competitor of Dimond. Ruster Sports is demanding not only $150,000 from Rapp, and it sent a letter threatening to sue Diamondback for $350,000 over the Rapp departure. Separately, and not connected with the Rapp dispute, Ruster Sports is suing an ex-employee, Chris Blick, who now works for Ventum, over what it alleges is a breach of an intellectual property agreement.
Ruster Sports' CEO TJ Tollakson - a professional triathlete himself - wrote a letter addressing Rapp’s claims to a group of Dimond owners. In it he wrote, that "Jordan Rapp has now made first-time-ever claims about the safety of the Dimond Bicycle as a reason why he asked to be released from his contract. I am just now learning of these claims.” Rapp contends that he "first mentioned the consistent defects in the frames,” in an exit interview with Ruster Sports business manager Brad Bach in December, 2016, and had communicated design concerns in July, 2016.
Tollakson further wrote, "I would like everyone to know that Dimond bikes are safe, have been safe, and continue to be safe. No customer who has purchased a production bicycle has advised Dimond of any failure in a bicycle that has resulted in any safety incident."
Slowtwitch attempted to contact Tollakson via email and has not received a reply.