A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit will hear the appeal. The panel will decide whether Mayfield has enough evidence for the case to continue. Neither NASCAR nor Mayfield will know which appeals court judges will hear the case until the morning of the hearing.
Mayfield has not competed in NASCAR since the May 2009 drug test, which Mayfield claims was a false positive resulting from a combination of prescription medication for adult-deficit hyperactivity disorder and over-the-counter allergy medication.
U.S. District Court Judge Graham Mullen dismissed Mayfield’s claims in May 2010, ruling that Mayfield could not sue because of waivers that he had signed in order to compete in Cup. The judge also questioned the strength of Mayfield’s evidence.
Mayfield, who has 433 career Cup starts with five victories, is seeking to have the case reinstated so he can continue to investigate his claims and proceed toward trial. Mayfield is suing for breach of contract, defamation and unfair trade practices. He has not specified an amount of money he is seeking.
Among the issues is whether NASCAR had to follow federal drug-testing guidelines because its substance-abuse policy requires its lab, Aegis Sciences Corp., to be a lab certified to test federal employees.
Mayfield also wants permission to include in his lawsuit allegations that NASCAR Chairman Brian France ordered him to be parked during the 2006 Brickyard 400. His then-team owner, Ray Evernham, has said in court documents that NASCAR never told him to park Mayfield’s car.
David Boies, a nationally known litigator who most recently represented NBA players in their lawsuit against the league, is expected to argue on NASCAR’s behalf. Boies also has represented the NFL, Al Gore in the recount of the 2000 presidential election and the group trying to keep the state of California from enforcing its ban on gay marriage.
The Mayfield hearing in appeals court had been delayed because of Boies’ work representing Oracle in its high-profile lawsuit against Google.
While NASCAR would like to get this lawsuit behind it, the Jan. 24 hearing date does pose a little bit of a headache. It comes on the second day of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Media Tour, a preseason publicity event that attracts journalists nationwide to Charlotte for preseason interviews with race teams, track executives and NASCAR officials.
NASCAR and Mayfield won’t get a decision on the day of the hearing, which likely will last approximately 40 minutes.
The case against NASCAR isn’t the only legal battle that Mayfield currently is wagering. He was arrested Nov. 1 for what police say was 1.5 grams of methamphetamine on his property. Mayfield also is under investigation after police have found more than $100,000 worth of goods that have been reported stolen on Mayfield’s 388-acre property, according to search warrants.
Mayfield has said through his attorney that he had no knowledge of methamphetamines nor stolen goods on his property.
As of Tuesday, according to court records, Mayfield has more than $2 million in judgments that have been issued against him – $1.35 million for missing payments on a loan, $65,932 in North Carolina state taxes and the rest in surveying fees, credit card fees, legal fees and race equipment. He also is delinquent in paying property taxes of more than $80,000 and has not paid the $31,240 in property taxes due this year, according to online tax records.
Source: Scene Daily