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Dirk Lammers, Associated Press, Published June 25 2012

UPDATED: Publisher sues Fargo-based owner of Sturgis bar in contract dispute

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — The publisher of Easyriders magazine has filed a breach-of-contract suit against the owner of a Sturgis bar, saying the saloon has stopped using the Easyriders mark in violation of vendor and licensing agreements.

Paisano Publications LLC is suing Fargo-based KSLB&D Inc. in Los Angeles County Superior Court for more than $2 million.

Agoura Hills, Calif.-based Paisano said it is entitled to a royalty of sales of food, beverage and merchandise and is the exclusive agent to sell vendor space adjacent to Easyriders Saloon & Steakhouse, which is at the intersection of Main Street and Junction Avenue in the Black Hills biker town.

The suit filed Friday alleges that bar owners sent notice at the end of May to terminate the vendor agreement, claiming Paisano had materially breached the contract by failing to sell sufficient vendor space ahead of the 2012 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in August.

Paisano accuses the bar owners of breaching the contract by covering up the Easyriders logos with tarps, acting as their own sales agent for vendor space and improperly trying to terminate the vendor agreement.

The removal of all Easyriders affiliation “was a transparent attempt to avoid its royalty and commission obligations,” the magazine company said.

Owner Scott Upton declined to comment on the lawsuit Monday.

The website for Easyriders Saloon & Steakhouse now redirects to Sturgis Saloon Company and Triple 8 Grille, a new name for the three-story bar and restaurant. The 23,000-square-foot facility features a restaurant, multiple bars, a stage and a third-floor private meeting and events area.

The suit seeks an injunction to prevent the bar from covering up the signs and using a different name.

The 72nd edition of the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, which draws hundreds of thousands of bikers to South Dakota's Black Hills, runs Aug. 6-12.

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