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Judge refuses to reopen Mayfield case against NASCAR
Jeremy Mayfield's allegations that NASCAR Chairman Brian France had him black-flagged in the 2006 Brickyard 400 were not enough to sway U.S. District Court Judge Graham Mullen to reopen Mayfield's lawsuit against the sanctioning body. Mullen issued an order Monday that denied Mayfield's request to reconsider a May ruling in favor of NASCAR that dismissed all of Mayfield's claims. In that May decision, Mullen ruled that Mayfield had given up his right to sue through various waivers he had signed to compete in NASCAR and questioned whether Mayfield had the evidence to support his claims that NASCAR erred in ruling he tested positive for methamphetamines.

Mayfield asked for the court to reopen the case in June because he intended to introduce new evidence, and Mullen denied that request in August. Mayfield then asked again in September for Mullen to reconsider his ruling in light of France's former in-laws stating that they had heard France order Mayfield to be black-flagged in the 2006 race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. France denied those claims and produced travel records that France said showed he wasn't even with his former in-laws on the day of the race.

Mullen ruled on Mayfield's request Monday and cited as key factors in his decision the France travel evidence and the fact that Mayfield had sued his team owner Ray Evernham in 2006 for firing him after that race and at that time did not mention the possibility that NASCAR had black-flagged him rather than the team deciding to park the car. "[Mayfield gives] no compelling reason that this evidence, supposedly from 2006, was not discovered prior to this proceeding, particularly in light of the fact that [he] already litigated the matter and thus presumably would have had a chance for discovery and investigation of the events at the Brickyard 400," Mullen wrote. Now that Mullen has denied the motion for reconsideration, Mayfield can now appeal the dismissal of his claims to the U.S. Court of Appeals. He could also file a new lawsuit asking for damages just based on the issue of whether France had him black-flagged during a race for no legitimate reason. In his ruling, Mullen also denied NASCAR's request for sanctions against Mayfield's attorney for filing the motion based on testimony from former in-laws whom France sued last year when trying to evict them from a home he owned and whose daughter is involved in a post-divorce lawsuit with France over alimony and alleged violations of their divorce agreement. "This litigation has been extraordinarily and unnecessarily contentious," the judge wrote in his decision Monday. "The Court did find these pleadings to be unwarranted." The ruling Monday was another step in what has turned into a lengthy battle between Mayfield against NASCAR and France over the results of a May 1, 2009, drug test. More from SceneDaily
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