Brian France going to great lengths to keep hearings private

Brian France


by GLENN COUNTS / NewsChannel 36
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Posted on November 17, 2009 at 10:47 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 18 at 1:56 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- By law the courts are presumed to be open, but everything in the Brian France matter has been sealed. That has some legal experts crying foul, wondering if he is getting special treatment because of who he is.

France is the most powerful man in NASCAR and is credited with creating the chase for the Sprint Cup -- a playoff system to determine a champion.

He is in a battle of his own, though, suing his ex-wife Megan. One of the issues under contention is a confidentiality agreement.

It's because of that agreement France is seeking to have the court hearing closed to the public.

The entire court file has been placed under seal by former Judge Todd Owens. Some legal experts call that move highly unusual.

Judge Jena Culler reversed it, but is now rethinking her position. Attorneys for Megan France are calling for openness. Attorneys for WCNC and our partners at The Charlotte Observer have joined them. Our motion says there is no public or governmental reason to close the proceedings, like the protection of minors or possible impairment of a criminal investigation.

Our attorneys also say that France's broad brush argument would permit any private citizen to close the courtrooms of this state. We don't have any of the details of the spat between the Frances, but his attorney says his reputation will be damaged beyond repair if this information gets out.