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Mayfield suspension lawsuit appeal rejected

27 March 2012

Jeremy Mayfield has lost his federal court appeal relating to his lawsuit against NASCAR over his ongoing indefinite suspension from the Sprint Cup Series for substance abuse.

Mayfield was originally suspended from Cup competition after failing a random drugs test at Richmond International Raceway in 2009. NASCAR say that both this and a subsequent second test had proved positive for methamphetamines, which Mayfield says was a false result arising from a combination of an over-the-counter allergy medication together with his prescription medicine for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Mayfield's original lawsuit against NASCAR over the suspension was dismissed on the grounds that the driver had waived his right to sue the sanctioning body as part of terms and conditions of his original driver contract with the series. In the appeal, Mayfield's legal team had attempted to introduce evidence that NASCAR Chairman Brian France was carrying out a vendetta against the driver, and that NASCAR had acted in a willful and malicious manner in making the drug test results public

"Where somebody consents to have results of tests made public, they can't complain that the results are made public," NASCAR's attorney David Boies had responded to the claims last month.

On Monday, the three-judge panel of the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeal in Florida (where NASCAR has its headquarters) unanimously upheld the decision of the district judge who had originally dismissed Mayfield's lawsuit for defamation, unfair and deceptive trade practices, breach of contract and negligence.

"In this case, the liability waiver is enforceable under Florida law," stated Judge Roger Gregory in the published ruling. "Mayfield was randomly selected to undergo drug testing pursuant to a valid NASCAR policy and two separate tests yielded a positive result for methamphetamine, a drug that drivers are prohibited from taking.

"The statements France made at the press conference did no more than report what the positive drug tests indicated – that Mayfield took a recreational or performance-enhancing drug," the ruling concluded.

After the verdict, NASCAR's senior vice president for racing operation Steve O'Donnell said that "This case was never about anything more than NASCAR's ability to keep the sport clean and our competitors safe."

Neither Mayfield nor his attorney in the case, Tillman Finley, made any public comment.

Five-time Cup race winner Mayfield is also facing unrelated charges of alleged possession of 1.5 grams of methamphetamine following a search of his 388-acre property in November 2011 which also uncovered a significant amount of stolen property


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