11/26/09 A court filing Wednesday night on behalf of Jeremy Mayfield claims that NASCAR Chairman Brian France misrepresented his primary residence to have the suspended driver’s lawsuit moved to federal court.
The latest filing in the legal tug-of-war also contends that NASCAR erroneously theorizes it could suspend any driver it wants even without a drug test.
Mayfield's filing in U.S. District Court came in response to NASCAR’s request to halt discovery – the investigative phase where depositions are conducted and documents are collected – until the court rules on NASCAR’s motion for a judge to rule based on previous pleadings.
Mayfield was suspended by NASCAR for a May 1 drug test that NASCAR says was positive for methamphetamines. Mayfield contends that the positive finding resulted from his taking a prescription drug to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and an over-the-counter allergy medicine. He also questions the procedures NASCAR used in determining the results.
Key to NASCAR’s argument that the case should be ruled on now without any more investigation is that Mayfield waived his right to sue through contracts he has signed with NASCAR.
“Under NASCAR’s theory … they could have intentionally spiked Mr. Mayfield’s urine sample and they would be exculpated from any liability due to the alleged waiver," Mayfield’s filing states. “They could have, under their theory, announced that Mr. Mayfield had violated their Substance Abuse Policy – without ever collecting a sample from him – and they would be immune from suit under their alleged waiver theory.
“It is a theme the Court has seen before in this case, where NASCAR’s lawyers are claiming that NASCAR is completely unaccountable and has to follow no rules, no matter what they do."
Mayfield also is questioning whether NASCAR had a right to move the case to federal court, a move that eventually delayed a hearing on Mayfield’s request for a preliminary injunction by a month.
The original lawsuit was filed in North Carolina state courts but was moved to federal courts at the request of NASCAR the day before the preliminary injunction hearing in state court. In that request, France said that while he owns a home in North Carolina, he considers his home in Florida his primary residence. Four days earlier in a claim filed in North Carolina Superior Court involving his former in-laws who were living in a house he owns in North Carolina, France said he was a citizen of both Florida and North Carolina but doesn’t indicate which is his primary residence.
Mayfield claims in the filing that France can’t consider himself a resident of North Carolina for that case to be heard in state court and then not be a resident of North Carolina in order to have the Mayfield case heard in federal court.
“France claimed to be a resident of Mecklenburg County and a citizen of North Carolina, four days later, to avoid the preliminary injunction hearing scheduled for the next day, he and his lawyers claimed, essentially, that he was NOT a citizen of North Carolina, but solely a resident of Florida," Mayfield’s filing states. “… Apparently, Mr. France claims to be domiciled in Florida when it suits him for tax-avoidance purposes, but claims be domiciled in North Carolina when it suits him in litigation." Scenedaily.com