Grant lawsuit officially dismissed: The sexual and racial discrimination and harassment lawsuit filed in June by former NASCAR official Mauricia Grant has officially been dismissed in U.S. District Court in New York, according to court filings. NASCAR had announced Dec. 18 in a news release that it had reached a settlement in the suit, and that the terms of the settlement are confidential and neither NASCAR nor Grant admits liability nor wrongdoing by way of the settlement. NASCAR and Grant filed jointly Friday to voluntarily dismiss the case. No terms were listed in the filing, which was just one paragraph stating that both sides had agreed to discontinue the case.(SceneDaily)(2-4-2009)
NASCAR settles lawsuit with Grant: UPDATE: At a mediation held in New York on December 3, 2008, Ms. Mauricia Grant settled her discrimination lawsuit with her former employer, NASCAR. Ms. Grant was represented by her attorneys Morelli Ratner PC. NASCAR was represented by Jackson Lewis. Neither NASCAR nor Ms. Grant admits liability or wrongdoing by way of the settlement. “We’re glad to have the case settled on mutually acceptable terms,” said NASCAR Managing Director of Corporate Communications Ramsey Poston. “NASCAR remains dedicated to maintaining a professional work environment for all employees at all times and we wish Ms. Grant well in her future endeavors.” The specific terms of the settlement agreement remain confidential and both sides agreed not to publicly discuss the details of the case or the terms of the agreement going forward.(NASCAR PR)(12-18-2008) UPDATE: The former official who filed a $225 million racial discrimination and sexual harassment lawsuit against NASCAR is very pleased with her settlement and looking forward to moving on, her attorney said Friday. Maurica Grant reached a confidential settlement with NASCAR following 12 hours of mediation earlier this month in New York. The session was suggested by U.S. District Court Judge Deborah A. Batts after the first court appearance in what was expected to be a yearslong battle between the two sides. "She'd been out of work a long time. We thought it was in the best interest of our client not to drag this out two to three years," said Benedict P. Morelli of New York-based Morelli Ratner PC. "She needed closure. She's a young woman, and when you make the sort of allegations she did, it's difficult to move forward and get on with your life." Settlement terms were confidential, and neither side admitted liability or wrongdoing. "She's very, very happy with the resolution," Morelli said. "And I don't think NASCAR wanted to leave it out there. They wanted to put this behind them, as well."(Associated Press)(12-19-2008)
Grant Lawsuit to remain in New York: The Mauricia Grant sexual and racial discrimination and harassment lawsuit will remain in New York. NASCAR had requested to move the case to either North Carolina or Florida. U.S. District Court Judge Deborah A. Batts ruled that because NASCAR has a marketing office in New York City, federal court in Manhattan is an appropriate venue for the case. Batts also cited the facts that Grant worked races at Watkins Glen, alleges discriminatory practices occurred while in New York and was allegedly disciplined and demoted while working in the state of New York. "Courts are not required to determine the 'best venue' but merely a logical one with a substantial connection to the litigation," Batts wrote. The sides expect a trial to last two weeks but no trial date has been set.(Scene Daily), more information on the suit can be found on the Grant vs. NASCAR lawsuit page.(11-2-2008)
Report: NASCAR dismisses two officials named in Grant lawsuit: Two officials suspended after an inquiry into harassment claims by a former NASCAR inspector have been dismissed. A NASCAR official confirmed their dismissals to NASCAR Scene, a weekly magazine. The two officials, identified previously by the Associated Press as Tim Knox and Bud Moore [NOT the former #15 car owner], are accused in a $225 million lawsuit of exposing themselves to Mauricia Grant, a former co-worker. Grant, who is black, filed the lawsuit in June, which detailed more than 50 instances of alleged racial and sexual harassment. She claims that she was fired in October 2007 for complaining about the way she was treated on the job after she started working for NASCAR in January 2005. NASCAR sent a team of investigators from its human resources and legal offices to Kentucky after the suit was filed. Shortly thereafter, Knox and Moore were placed on indefinite administrative paid leave. In court filings, NASCAR has denied Grant's allegations.(ESPN.com/Wire)(9-21-2008)
Ex-technical inspector files complaint, claiming discrimination: A former technical inspector filed a complaint against NASCAR with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, alleging racial discrimination, a hostile work environment and wrongful termination. Dean Duckett, who is black, said discrimination started in May 2001 and lasted until NASCAR fired him from his job in the Cup series on Nov. 14, 2007. Duckett told The Associated Press on Saturday that he would consider a lawsuit if NASCAR refused to offer him his old job back. Duckett said his problems started last Nov. 10 when he got into a heated argument with another official the night before the Phoenix race. "I said to him, 'I ought to cut you.' I don't carry no blades or nothing like that," Duckett said. "It basically came out in the heat of the moment. We got into each others faces but nothing happened. My roommate pulled me away and said, 'C'mon guys leave it alone,' and we left." Duckett said he apologized, made up with the official and thought the incident was squashed. Instead, he said he was called the next day to NASCAR's at-track office and was sent home. Duckett said he was fired by Cup Series director John Darby and human resources director Star George.
Duckett was named in Mauricia Grant's $250 million lawsuit against NASCAR, alleging racial and sexual discrimination, sexual harassment and wrongful termination. Her lawsuit claimed Duckett was reprimanded and ultimately fired last November for using "aggressive language toward a white co-worker." Duckett denied harassing Grant, though he acknowledged NASCAR suspended him with pay for two weeks. Duckett was accused by Grant of dumping water on another female official to simulate a wet T-shirt contest. "She lied about that part," Duckett said. "NASCAR suspended me for that and I still don't even know why they did that." Duckett, who said he now works two jobs and is falling behind in bills, said Grant was mostly telling the truth.(in part from ESPN.com/AP)(9-21-2008)
Report: Grant's background includes restraining order, DUI arrest: The former racing official who has accused NASCAR of racial discrimination and sexual harassment in a $225 million lawsuit had a restraining order filed against her by a former boyfriend and was arrested for driving under the influence, The Associated Press has learned. Mauricia Grant, who filed her suit against NASCAR in June, also was charged with driving with a suspended license while still employed as a technical inspector for NASCAR's second-tier Nationwide Series. An attorney for Grant said his client did not refute anything in her past, but previous actions have no bearing on the suit that alleges 23 specific incidents of sexual harassment and 34 specific incidents of racial and gender discrimination during her time working for NASCAR. "Ms. Grant's alleged prior actions are totally irrelevant to this suit," attorney Benedict P. Morelli said in a statement. "NASCAR must obey the law and should focus its full attention on improving the discriminatory and hostile work environment to which employees are subject." But NASCAR indicated Thursday her past actions are a reflection on Grant's character, and vowed to continue fighting her claims. NASCAR asked for and was granted a three-week extension on filing its response to her suit, and the new deadline is Friday. "Clearly, these revelations show that there are always at least two sides to every story," NASCAR said in a statement to the AP. "We are confident that over the course of this process even more facts will come to light and justice will be served." Court documents reviewed by The AP showed that Grant has legal issues dating back to a 2002 restraining order filed by an ex-boyfriend.(in part from AP/ESPN.com)(8-7-2008)
Latest on the Grant lawsuit: NASCAR has nearly completed its investigation of the allegations made by former Nationwide Series inspector Mauricia Grant in a $225 million discrimination lawsuit, CEO Brian France said in his annual midseason question-and-answer session Friday. Grant, who is black, is alleging racial and sexual discrimination, sexual harassment and wrongful termination in a lawsuit filed last month. She discussed her accusations in detail on ESPN this week. France reiterated that NASCAR will vigorously defend itself in court, but he didn't discuss any specifics of the case. "My own experience with lawsuits over many years is, by the time the facts ultimately catch up to the actual lawsuit, they're usually a whole lot different than the claims that are made on the front end when you're after a lot of money," France said.(Tampa Tribune)(7-5-2008)
Lawyer behind discrimination suit talks: But Benedict Morelli -- the lawyer for Mauricia Grant in the $225 million discrimination lawsuit against NASCAR -- took note that there was one other intriguing headline over the weekend: Nationwide Series officials Tim Knox and Bud Moore [NOT the former car owner Walter "Bud" Moore, who owned the #15 Ford and others for years with 63 wins] were both suspended, with pay, for what the sport's CEO, Brian France, called "violations in NASCAR policy." France didn't give specifics on what prompted the action while defending his company on Saturday, but both are accused in the lawsuit of exposing themselves to Grant -- an African-American co-worker of theirs who was fired in October 2007.
In a 45-minute interview with SI.com before those suspensions, Morelli shared some of his thoughts on the case. "I look at this as an opportunity [for NASCAR]," he said from his offices in Manhattan. "There are a number of things that have to go on. NASCAR ultimately has to pay a lot of money -- but they have to do more than that. They have to try to legitimately change the culture. In a lot of ways, a lawsuit like this could benefit them if they make the necessary changes." Morelli says his client is willing to take a stand, and knows it will be a long fight. See the full story at the Sports Illustrated site.(6-16-2008)
Former official sues NASCAR over harassment claims UPDATE 2 two officials suspended: A former racing official is suing NASCAR, alleging racial and sexual discrimination, sexual harassment and wrongful termination. Mauricia Grant worked as a technical inspector responsible for certifying cars in NASCAR's second-tier Nationwide Series from January 2005 until she was fired last October. Grant, who is black, alleges she was referred to as "Nappy Headed Mo" and "Queen Sheba," by white co-workers. She also claims she often was told she worked on "colored people time," and was frightened by one official who routinely made references to the Ku Klux Klan. The lawsuit, which seeks $250 million, was filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.(ESPN.com/Associated Press) and see a copy of the lawsuit at FoxSports (pdf format)(6-10-2008) UPDATE: NASCAR chairman Brian France says a former official who's suing the organization never reported discrimination or harassment claims to her supervisors. Mauricia Grant filed a $225 million suit against NASCAR on Tuesday, alleging racial discrimination, sexual harassment and retaliatory termination. France said Wednesday the detailed filing was the first NASCAR learned of her claims. "The disappointing thing is she makes a lot of claims, none of them reported," he said.(Associated Press)(6-11-2008) UPDATE 2: Two officials named in a $225 million racial discrimination and sexual harassment lawsuit against NASCAR have been placed on administrative leave for violating company policy, The Associated Press has learned. The officials, who were not immediately identified, were sent home from Kentucky Speedway on Friday evening, a person familiar with the NASCAR investigation told the AP. The person requested anonymity because NASCAR's investigation is ongoing. NASCAR sent a team of investigators from its human resources and legal offices to Kentucky this weekend to interview those named in the suit. Of 27 interviews conducted away from the track Thursday and Friday, two officials were found to have engaged in behavior that violated NASCAR policy. Their leave is indefinite. In addition, investigators failed to uncover a single instance where Grant complained to her supervisors or other NASCAR employees about the way she was treated, the person familiar with the investigation told AP. Grant has said she followed the chain of command all the way to Nationwide Series director Joe Balash, but stopped short of telling human resources because she was reprimanded by that department for a separate incident two weeks after lodging her complaint. She said she viewed the reprimand, which included a threat of termination, as retaliation for complaining to Balash. Balash was not one of the officials placed on leave Friday. Grant's lawyer, Benedict P. Morelli of Morelli Ratner PC, was not immediately available for comment.(Associated Press)(6-14-2008) UPDATE 3: Two officials suspended by NASCAR are accused in a $225 million lawsuit of exposing themselves to a former co-worker, the Associated Press has learned.
Tim Knox and Bud Moore [NOT the former car owner Walter "Bud" Moore, who owned the #15 Ford and others for years with 63 wins] have been placed on indefinite administrative paid leave. NASCAR will not reveal the identities of the officials sent home Friday from Kentucky Speedway, but a person familiar with the investigation confirmed to AP on Saturday that Knox and Moore were suspended. The person requested anonymity because NASCAR's investigation is ongoing. NASCAR did not give a reason for the men's suspension, and chairman Brian France cautioned against assuming the officials are being punished for allegations made in the lawsuit.(Associated Press)(6-15-2008)