PARIS — The Tribunal de Grande Instance of Paris has appointed a mediator in the lawsuit brought by Balenciaga against its former designer, Nicolas Ghesquière.
According to a decision filed Wednesday and signed by presiding judge Christian Hours, the parties have three months to reach an “amiable” agreement via mediation, or the court is to make a ruling.
Balenciaga is seeking damages of 7 million euros, or $9.2 million at current exchange, over an interview Ghesquière and stylist Marie-Amélie Sauvé granted to London-based fashion magazine System last year about the Frenchman’s post-Balenciaga career.
Wednesday’s court decision fixed the fees for mediator Martin Hauser of the Centre de Médiation et d’Arbitrage de Paris, ordering Balenciaga to pay 4,000 euros, or $5,277 at current exchange, and Ghesquière and Sauvé each 2,000 euros, or $2,639.
The court had been scheduled to hand down its decision this week after hearing oral arguments in the civil case last month.
The attempt at mediation does not represent any change in Balenciaga’s initial claim, as reported.
During last month’s hearing, the fashion house argued Ghesquière violated a separation agreement that stipulated that he refrain from declarations that could hurt the image of Balenciaga; parent Kering, then known as PPR, and its shareholders and collaborators.
Among his declarations in the System story: “I began to feel as though I was sucked dry, like they wanted to steal my identity while trying to homogenize things.”
Lawyers for Ghesquière had argued that the published comments did not amount to criticism of Balenciaga, but rather the industry in general, and that Balenciaga provided no proof of prejudice.
The court scheduled a hearing for Feb. 15, 2015, to review the outcome of the mediation.