The son of the late oil industry analyst Dan Lundberg has agreed to drop his family's name from his energy consulting business as a partial settlement to a lawsuit filed against him by the North Hollywood company his father founded.
Jan C. Lundberg, who had been doing business in Fredericksburg, Va., as Lundberg Reports Corp., was sued Sept. 25 in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles by Lundberg Survey Inc., the research company his father headed that became internationally known for its widely quoted Lundberg Letter report on gasoline prices and trends.
Lundberg Survey sued to stop Jan from using the family name in his business, arguing that its customers might believe that he is still affiliated with Lundberg Survey. Jan Lundberg, 35, was fired one year ago from the company by his mother, Mesa, who inherited control from her husband.
According to court documents filed Oct. 16, Jan agreed not to use the family name in selling, marketing, advertising, promotions and distributing publications or in doing consulting work related to the energy business. He has been doing gasoline market research in Virginia and has said he plans to publish his own newsletter.
John E. Kelly, a lawyer representing Lundberg Survey, said Jan agreed to stop using the name after Lundberg Survey obtained a court order to stop him from selling his father's yacht, the Comrade.
Kelly said Lundberg arranged to sell the yacht for about $75,000 shortly before the company filed its lawsuit. Under the settlement, Jan will receive half of the money, with the rest put into a trust account until the suit is resolved, Kelly said.
Although the use of the family name was a key point in the lawsuit, other issues remain unresolved. Jan is being accused by Lundberg Survey of using its customer lists in his business, taking documents from the company and reneging on a promise not to compete with Lundberg Survey. He has denied the allegations.
The lawsuit is part of a larger family feud that erupted shortly after Dan Lundberg died in August, 1986. Jan claims that he was groomed by his father to take over the company, which his mother has denied. Jan's sister, Trilby, 38, effectively runs Lundberg Survey now as president.
In a statement, Jan Lundberg said he is undecided on a new name for his company, adding that the agreement "should diffuse some of the gossipy focus on this so-called feud."