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Nate Bozung, a professional snowboarder from Salt Lake City, has filed a lawsuit seeking $1.6 million in damages from a Vermont company for allegedly using his name and picture in advertisements without his authorization.
Filed in Utah's U.S. District Court Aug. 21, Bozung's suit contends Technine, Inc., a small snowboarding company from Williston, Vt., promoted its line of "Boznuts" snowboards in its 2005-06 catalog with Bozung's name and photo, indicating he was affiliated with the company.
But Bozung's attorney, Jason Velez of Salt Lake City, said there was no contract authorizing the company to indicate it had been endorsed by Bozung, who is a member of the Salt Lake City-based Milosports snowboard team.
Velez said the suit was filed to protect Bozung and other skiers and snowboarders who receive verbal promises of compensation from equipment manufacturers for lending their names to products, but never see any of that money.
"Historically, the industry has done a lot of handshakes and 'we'll take care of you' situations," said Velez. "These [snowboard] riders, essentially kids, are taken advantage of and nobody is standing up for them. We hope, through this case, to make sure there is less of that and more of a professional relationship between companies and riders."
Repeated efforts to contact Technine for comment were unsuccessful.
An Internet search showed that the company is advertising its Technine Nate Bozung Pro Model Snowboard 2006, which comes in three sizes equipped with "carbon fiber stringers that keep the shape and pop for years."
Technine snowboards are sold in Utah at three Blindside retail stores - in Salt Lake City, Layton and Ogden.
The company also has produced a snowboarding movie, "State of Mind," which will make its premiere today at the University of Utah Ballroom. The 8 p.m. showing, which also features a video called "that" by Forum, is sponsored by Milosports.