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Financial Firm Sues Dale Earnhardt Inc.

(CN) - A financial company claims Dale Earnhardt Inc. reneged on a written agreement to sell it $3.25 million in GM bankruptcy claims for $784,000. The Seaport Group says the corporation named for the late NASCAR driver backed out on the day the deal was supposed to close.

In its complaint in Manhattan Federal Court, Seaport says that Dale Earnhardt Inc. (DEI) backed out of the deal in bad faith.

North Carolina-based DEI "is a part owner of the professional NASCAR racing team Earnhardt Ganassi Racing" and sells products related to the "late professional NASCAR racer, Dale Earnhardt," according to the complaint.

Seaport claims that DEI agreed to close on the sale of the GM claims by Dec. 15, 2009, but then refused, making objections in bad faith - such as refusing to refund Seaport if any part of the claims are rejected or reduced.

"After DEI signed a binding contract to sell its claim to Seaport, the value of the claim increased dramatically, and DEI refused to honor the deal," the complaint states.

Seaport says that DEI later expressed its intentions to reduce the claims to "as little as $100,000 or eliminate it altogether," in order to maintain its relationship with General Motors.

Seaport claims that DEI said it was "looking into mistake defenses," to get out of the deal.

Seaport says that DEI confirmed on Nov. 18, 2009 that was obligated to sell the claims. Yet DEI told Seaport in February 2010 that the November sale confirmation was "not binding," the complaint states.

Seaport demands the bankruptcy claims as agreed, or at least $2.4 million in damages for breach of contract and implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing.

It lead counsel is Kim Peluso with Manatt Phelps & Phillips.

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