New development in DeltaWing lawsuit

New development in DeltaWing lawsuit


New development in DeltaWing lawsuit


The DeltaWing in action at Daytona during testing. (Marshall Pruett photo)

A new development has surfaced in the lawsuit filed by the Don Panoz-led group of investors and owners behind Delta Wing Project 56, LLC, (DWP56), against Nissan International, Nissan North America, and Ben Bowlby.

As RACER revealed in December, the DWP56 group seeks “damages and injunctive relief arising out of theft of confidential and proprietary information, misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of contracts, unjust enrichment, fraud, and negligent misrepresentation,” according to the filing made in Jackson County, Ga., the municipality where the Braselton-based DWP56 company is located.

According to new court documents, a motion filed by the law firm representing Nissan asked to have the DWP56 lawsuit removed from local jurisdiction and elevated to federal level.

The diversity of citizenship of some defendants involved in the case is cited as one of the reasons for requesting to have the suit shifted to federal court. But in a follow-up motion, Nissan’s lawyers, working with DWP56’s lawyers, filed a second motion asking for the case to remain in Jackson County, effectively reversing their earlier request. No reasons are given for the change in Nissan’s approach.

According to the “JOINT CONSENT MOTION TO REMAND” filed on Jan. 6, the Superior Court of Jackson County:

“Nissan filed a Notice of Removal on December 23, 2013 alleging diversity of citizenship as a basis for subject matter jurisdiction in this action.
“Upon receipt of the Notice of Removal, counsel for Plaintiff provided counsel for Nissan information regarding Plaintiff’s citizenship, demonstrating that diversity of citizenship does not exist between the parties.
“After reviewing this information, counsel for Nissan concedes that diversity does not exist and that federal subject matter jurisdiction is absent in this matter.
“Accordingly, Plaintiff and Defendants agree that the case should be remanded immediately to the Superior Court of Jackson County, Georgia and proceed in that venue.
“WHEREFORE, Plaintiff and Defendants jointly move the Court for an Order remanding this matter to the Superior Court of Jackson County, Georgia.”
Senior United States District Judge William C. O’Kelley, ruling on behalf of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Gainesville Division, accepted the reversal in a finding posted yesterday:

“The parties’ joint consent motion to remand is hereby GRANTED. All other motions pending before this court are DENIED without prejudice to being refiled in state court. This case is REMANDED to the Superior Court of Jackson County, Georgia, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1447(c-d). IT IS SO ORDERED, this 7th day of January, 2014.”

Of the pressing timelines involved with items related to the case, Nissan was awarded Garage 56 status for the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans, and as a result, has built the Nissan ZEOD hybrid prototype (LEFT) to compete at La Sarthe in June. The DWP56 lawsuit asks for an injunction to be placed against the ZEOD which, if granted, could keep the car from turning a single lap.

With the lawsuit being kept at the district level, it’s very likely the case will now be heard in a timely manner. Had the case transitioned to a federal court, and as often happens, it could have taken significantly longer for the case to be heard and any findings to be rendered.