IndyCar driver Alex Palou’s legal team has filed a motion to move the civil lawsuit against him and ALPA Racing, which is listed as Palou’s “racing entity,” to federal court, according to court records.
But it is included in the notice that the defendants “anticipate” the filing of counterclaims, including for defamation.
Chip Ganassi Racing, the current Palou team that filed the civil suit, recently announced that it had exercised the option to extend the defending champion’s contract. However, Palou denied the claim as well as the alleged quote by him hours later. Instead, he will start racing for McLaren Racing in 2023, which McLaren and Palou confirmed on July 12.
The opinion from Palou’s legal team also confirmed that the defendants were being sued for claims, including breach of contract. CGR’s legal team filed to seal the official complaint along with several exhibits, but the other exhibits that are public include part of Palou’s tweets and McLaren’s tweet and the announcement press release.
Palou’s legal team is seeking to transfer the lawsuit to the Indianapolis Division of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. The basis for attempting the move was “diversity of citizenship” and “amount of controversy”.
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The federal court system generally has jurisdiction when more than $75,000 is at stake, which Palou’s legal team pointed out. The filing details how the contract the plaintiff seeks to enforce is said to be worth more than $75,000, stating that CGR “seeks to force Alex Palou to drive for Chip Ganassi Racing, LLC in the 2023 IndyCar season.”
Palou’s legal team released a statement last week regarding the lawsuit, saying: “We are disappointed that Chip Ganassi Racing is trying to prevent Alex from competing in Formula 1, and even more so with CGR’s public records and the continuous comments on the press on this subject. Alex has always done his best for CGR and it is unfortunate that CGR is trying to deny him this opportunity.
“We hope the parties can resolve this matter amicably, but if not, we look forward to resolving this matter in private arbitration, as requested by the CGR.”
CGR’s legal team responded in its own motion, calling for it to be transferred to the Indiana Commercial Court. They said Palou’s filing was “a flawed takedown notice” that was “hastily filed” to delay legal proceedings, per Indy Star. The two sides had a virtual attorneys’ conference scheduled for Monday morning with a judge, which was canceled after the IndyCar driver was filed.
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