Punished for Hiring an Attorney

BEAVER, Pa. (CN) – A champion dirt-racing driver sued the World Racing Group, claiming it indefinitely suspended him for the “offense” of hiring an attorney to appeal a race disqualification.
     Kevin Bolland and his sponsor Bol-Tech Motorsports sued the World Racing Group aka Dirtcar Racing, World Racing official Joseph Skotnicki, Boundless Racing dba Lernerville Speedway, and its general manager Gary Risch Jr., in Beaver County Court.
     Bolland claims the defendants conspired to keep him out of racing by denying his appeals and a request for a stay of penalties.
     He claims the defendants were incensed because he hired a lawyer.
     “Defendants’ indefinite suspension of Bolland and the change of his status to a member no longer in good standing for no reason other than his retention of legal counsel, which retention of counsel is not inconsistent with the rules,” the complaint states.
     Bolland says he was disqualified for “rough driving” after winning a race at Lernerville Speedway on July 13, 2012. He says he protested to the pit steward, who told him he would be notified how to appeal the disqualification. Bolland claims he was told that loss of the one race, with its points and prize money, were the only penalties he faced.
     But Skotnicki cited him for a second offense a week later, “two-way communication to the driver,” though Bolland claims his car and equipment were never inspected car before, during or after the race.
     Bolland claims he timely appealed to The World Racing Group Appeals Commission on the day he received his initial written notice.
     He says his appeal was denied as untimely and his $250 check was returned.
     He sent a second appeal the day he received the first denial letter.
     That appeal was denied too, on Aug. 1, as untimely, though it was not, Bolland says.
     For a third appeal, he hired an attorney, who sent his third request on Aug. 23.
     In response, “By letter dated September 13, 2012, Skotnicki acknowledged that he received Donald Bolland’s letter of September 5, 2012, and stated that Bolland’s appeal remained denied and that the penalty had been increased from the original suspension for the duration of the 2012 racing season, a fine and put under probation for 2013 season, to a member no longer in Good Standing and an indefinite suspension for the ‘offense’ of being represented by counsel,” according to the complaint.
     Bolland adds: “By the defendant’s unilateral accusation and conviction of Bolland and Bol-Tech for alleged offenses without any evidence being presented and without Bolland having any opportunity to confront his accusers or to present evidence on his own behalf, defendants have damaged the good reputation of the plaintiff causing him severe emotional and financial damage.”
     They seek more than $1 million in damages.
     They are represented by Timothy Silbaugh, with Heck Silbaugh, of Valencia, Pa.

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