Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Updated: May 19, 5:50 PM ET
Mayfield's suit vs. NASCAR dismissed
A federal judge on Tuesday dismissed Jeremy Mayfield's lawsuit against NASCAR, a ruling that presumably ends the yearlong saga surrounding the first Sprint Cup driver suspended for failing a random drug test.
U.S. District Judge Graham Mullen ruled in Charlotte, N.C., that Mayfield had twice waived his rights to pursue any claims against NASCAR when he signed documents both as a driver and as an owner to participate in the stock car series.
"Plaintiffs thereby waived their right to pursue their claims for defamation, unfair and deceptive trade practices, breach of contract, and negligence," Mullen wrote in his decision. "Plaintiffs' claims are hereby dismissed."
NASCAR was pleased with Mullen's ruling.
"The U.S. District Court's ruling is a powerful acknowledgment and affirmation of NASCAR's rulebook and its ability to police the sport," the sanctioning body said in a statement. "NASCAR has been very clear with its competitors as to its policies and what is expected of them. NASCAR's comprehensive substance abuse policy, which is among the best and toughest in all of sports, serves the safety of our competitors and fans."
Mayfield's wife, Shana, said the couple had no comment on the ruling. She said attorney Mark Geragos would speak on their behalf.
Geragos' voice mailbox was full, and he did not immediately respond to an e-mail request for comment.
Mayfield was suspended last May 9 for failing a random drug test. NASCAR later said the driver tested positive for methamphetamines, a claim Mayfield has consistently denied.
He argued at various points in his defense that his positive test stemmed from a mix of an over-the-counter allergy medication and prescription drug Adderall, that NASCAR's testing system was flawed and that NASCAR did not follow federal guidelines in its testing methods.
Mayfield sued for breach of contract, discrimination and defamation and won an injunction last July to participate in NASCAR. He never attempted to make a race, and the suspension was reinstated by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals after he failed a second random drug test.
Mullen's ruling Tuesday was in response to a motion NASCAR made last November to dismiss the suit based on pleadings already submitted. There was no hearing.
NASCAR last June countersued Mayfield and accused him of willfully violating its substance abuse policy, breaching his contract and of defrauding NASCAR and its competitors of earnings.
"At this point, nothing has changed on that matter," NASCAR said Tuesday of its countersuit. "We will evaluate our options going forward."