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Divorce of NASCAR head France ruled public

Feb. 2, 2011 at 2:42 PM
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CHARLOTTE, N.C., Feb. 2 (UPI) -- The divorce and legal dispute of NASCAR Chairman Brian France and his wife Megan will play out in open court, an appeals court ruled.

The Frances had attempted to keep the proceedings secret, but the North Carolina appeals court upheld a Charlotte judge's order refusing to close the court hearings, the Charlotte (N.C.) Observer reported Tuesday.

The public's right to open court proceedings outweighed Bill France's interest in keeping the litigation secret, the court said.

However, previously filed documents in the case could remain sealed, the court said, leaving it to the Charlotte judge presiding over the Frances' trial to decide if any should be made public.

One of the documents is a confidential agreement between Brian and Megan France concerning their separation, property settlement, child support and custody and alimony.

The agreement included "intensely private" matters involving their children and finances, Brian France's lawyer said.

Attorney Johnny Stephenson said he was "confident" the court would "protect the parties' compelling interests in these private matters."

France took over the role of chairman of NASCAR from his father, Bill France Jr., in 2003.

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