Several shopping centers in Southern California have sued No Fear, the action sports brand based in Carlsbad, CA, for falling months behind in rent for its retail outlets, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.

An attorney for No Fear Retail Stores Inc. blamed the late payments on the difficult economy and said the company was working with shopping centers to renegotiate leases. The lawyer said the rents are well above market levels and were signed during better times.

According to the report, the Irvine Spectrum and Block at Orange both filed lawsuits in Orange County Superior Court; and shopping centers in Arcadia, West Covina and Valencia filed suits in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

No Fear opened seven stores in late 2008 and early 2009, giving it 53 retail stores in seven states, most of them in California. No Fear also in 2009 agreed to acquire Canadian eyewear and apparel company Gatorz Inc. and emerge as a publicly traded company in Canada. The deal still needs regulatory approval in Canada.