Rahal team sues Scott Sharp

UPDATE #2 Because Scott Sharp violated his obligation to race exclusively for Rahal Letterman Racing in 2008, Rahal Letterman Racing was vindicated today in its breach-of-contract allegations against Scott Sharp Sports, LLC pursuant to an order issued by United States District Court Judge Hon. Adalberto Jordan.

The 24-page ruling, which denied a preliminary injunction against Sharp that would have forced him to sit out the 2008 season, states that Sharp’s claims against Rahal Letterman Racing concerning fraud, failure to provide testing, failure to perform research and development and the replacement of team members had no merit and that it was Sharp that will be found to have breached the contract.

Specifically, in the final conclusion of the seven-part ruling, Judge Jordan states: ‘It seems to me that (Sharp) has knowingly breached one agreement in order to enter another. He may continue to race for Highcroft in the 2008 season, but this case shall go on, and he may pay for his choices in the end, quite literally, if a jury views the evidence as I do.’ In addition, Judge Jordan stated that ‘according to the evidence presented so far, Rahal Letterman (Racing) has not committed fraud or breach of contract. If anything, it is the Sharp defendants who have breached and abandoned their contractual commitments’.

Judge Jordan also analyzed the evidence as follows: ‘The record demonstrates that Rahal Letterman (Racing) did everything basically right and worked with the Sharp defendants at all times in good faith…Therefore the Sharp defendants have no excuse for violating the restrictive covenant in the Driver Agreement. For these reasons, I conclude that Rahal Letterman (Racing) will likely succeed on the merits of its breach of contract claim against the Sharp defendants.’

“We are very encouraged with Judge Jordan’s rulings and hope that the remainder of the legal proceedings go as indicated in today’s statement," said team co-owner Bobby Rahal. “The fact that Rahal Letterman Racing was found to be in accordance with all of its contracts and are forthright in all its dealings is a reflection on the people at our shop and on our team that worked so hard to provide a competitive car and a competitive atmosphere during last season." RLR PR

11/30/07 Scott Sharp's recent breach of contract lawsuit against Rahal Letterman Racing is also the basis for the team filing a countersuit, Sharp's attorney said Thursday. Sharp believes Rahal Letterman is no longer committed to IndyCar racing because of the recent release of 10 crew members, including race engineers Jeff Britton and Ray Leto, Sharp's attorney, Michael Josephs, said Thursday.

Britton had been Sharp's engineer since he won the pole for the 2001 Indianapolis 500 at Kelley Racing. Lehto was Danica Patrick's engineer when she nearly won the 500 in 2005.

Sharp's complaint also alleges that Rahal doesn't want to field an Indy Racing League program, won't participate in the league-provided test sessions and is not investing in a research-and-development program.

Scott Sharp's claim to fame was winning the pole for the Indy 500 and then spinning out and crashing in Turn 1 of the very first lap. How embarrassing.

11/28/07 Rahal Letterman Racing announces that it has filed a lawsuit in United States District Court Southern District of Florida Miami Division today against Scott Sharp Sports, LLC, Scott Sharp Inc., driver Scott Sharp (collectively “Sharp") and sponsor Patr¢n Spirits.

The suit alleges, among other things, a breach by Sharp of a multi-year contract with Rahal Letterman Racing. The terms of the contract call for Sharp and Patr¢n Spirits to participate in the IndyCar Series with Rahal Letterman Racing through 2008. Rahal Letterman Racing’s suit seeks damages for, among other things, Sharp’s breach of contract and Patr¢n’s interference with contractual relations as well as injunctive relief. Additionally, RLR will file an emergency motion for a preliminary injunction against Scott Sharp forthwith.

“We find it deeply unfortunate that Scott Sharp Sports and Scott personally have taken this course of action, given that they are contractually committed with Rahal Letterman Racing through 2008," said team co-owner Bobby Rahal. “We have learned that Scott is interested in racing somewhere else. If that is his direction in the future, so be it, but not in violation of his 2008 commitments. Their attempted legal maneuver to break the contract early is totally without merit. As such, Rahal Letterman Racing will vigorously and aggressively pursue our claims against Sharp and Patr¢n and the remedies to which we are entitled, as well as defend our team against their unfounded allegations. We had hoped to avoid the ramifications of legal proceedings, but with the allegations against us becoming public record, it is important that we act quickly and decisively to obtain judicial intervention to protect our reputation and goodwill in the industry, as well as to prevent any interference with our relations with our sponsors and other business partners."

Sharp joined Rahal Letterman Racing in 2007 with Patr¢n, rejuvenating his career by finishing eighth in the IndyCar Series. He scored ten top-10 finishes, three top-fives and won his first pole since 2001 when he led qualifying in Texas. He also finished sixth in this year’s Indianapolis 500, the best finish of his 13 career Indy 500 starts.

RLR expects to be successful in its suit and therefore is planning on moving ahead with its plans for the 2008 season, including taking part in December tests in both the IndyCar Series and American Le Mans Series. Rahal Letterman Racing PR

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