The N.C. Court of Appeals has upheld a judge’s order unsealing documents in a bitter divorce case involving the head of stock-car racing.
Lawyers for NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France have fought for years to keep confidential the details of his 2008 divorce from Megan France, a Charlotte woman he has married and divorced twice.
The appeals court ruled in 2011 that the public’s right to public court proceedings outweighed France’s interest in maintaining secrecy. Mecklenburg County District Court Judge Jena Culler then reversed the earlier order of another judge, unsealing the divorce records.
Brian France then appealed again, effectively keeping the documents sealed until the appeals court ruled. France’s lawyer, John Stephenson Jr., had argued at a court hearing in September that allowing one judge to overturn the order of another judge of equal rank would lead to “judicial anarchy.”
The three-judge appeals panel ruled Monday that Culler’s decision to unseal the divorce records was valid. Because the decision was unanimous, Brian France does not have the right of automatic appeal to the N.C. Supreme Court.