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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-30-2005, 04:05 PM Thread Starter
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Ford vs. Kahne

From the Detroit Insider:

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Racer, Ford collide off track

Automaker claims precocious stock car driver secretly defected to Dodge.

By David Shepardson / The Detroit News

DEARBORN -- Kasey Kahne was a quick study and adept driver on the racetrack -- shifting from the dirt courses of his native Washington state to stock car racing's minor league in just several years.

Ford Motor Co., anxious to discover and groom future racing talent, took a chance and backed the young driver, and soon Kahne went on to win his first Busch Series race in 2003.

But he was hungry for a chance to race in NASCAR's top league event -- the Nextel Cup.

Frustrated that Ford wouldn't allow him to race in the premier circuit full time, Kahne secretly struck a deal, the automaker says, to drive Dodge-powered cars in fall 2003. After numerous runner-up finishes, he won his first NASCAR Nextel Cup race on May 14 driving a No. 9 Dodge Charger.

Ford is now suing Kahne, 25, for breach of contract, and the two sides are headed to trial in September.

According to court records, the case has become a bitter standoff between one of NASCAR's biggest financial backers and its rising star. It also offers a rare glimpse at how much automakers spend to use America's most popular auto racing circuit and its drivers as marketing tools.

U.S. District Judge Robert H. Cleland summed up the case at a hearing Thursday: The company "lost a diamond in the rough," who jumped at the chance to make more money before his contract was up and agreed to "roll the dice" and gamble that Ford might sue him.

"Before he started winning, Kasey Kahne was nobody," Cleland said. "He was essentially a nonentity."

Kahne's lawyers have blasted Ford repeatedly, noting that Kahne won rookie of the year honors in the 2004 Nextel Cup season with a Dodge team. He earned $4.8 million racing in 2004 and has pocketed $1.7 million this year.

"Ford filed this (lawsuit) in a transparent attempt to deflect the public embarrassment of its squandered opportunity, and widely reported failures of its racing program, which currently fields a fraction of the cars fielded by its competitors," Kahne lawyer Dan Baum wrote in a recent court filing.

Noting Ford has won the last two NASCAR championships and is in a good position to win this year, Ford Racing spokesman Kevin Kennedy said: "Ford has never bad-mouthed Kasey Kahne and never denied he was a talented driver."

But in a May 6 court filing, Ford said Kahne "embarked on a surreptitious course of duplicitous conduct with non-Ford race teams" and calls his conduct "malodorous."

The automaker hasn't disclosed how much it is seeking in damages, though federal suits require a minimum of $75,000.

Kahne has already lost several battles in the case. On Thursday, Cleland refused to order Ford to turn over data detailing the marketing value of NASCAR drivers -- specifically Kahne -- to Kahne's lawyers.

John Szymanski, director of sponsor development for Ford Racing, said in a sworn deposition last month that racing is important to car buyers "because they identify people and drivers as people that drive Fords; and therefore, they help establish an emotional connection to the Ford brand, to the fans through their support or affection for certain drivers."

Ford's attorneys -- eager not to disclose the information -- agreed in advance to drop any claims that Kahne's departure cost the company any vehicle sales. They refused to turn over "marketing-related information on the incremental sales impact of Ford's participation in competitive racing series," Ford's attorneys said. The research was conducted in 2003 or 2004, the company said.

Baum said that the court should dismiss Ford's suit if it no longer suggests it lost any money as a result of Kahne's departure.

Cleland has also denied a request by Kahne's lawyers to question Edsel Ford II, a member of Ford's board of directors and then-honorary chairman of the Team Ford Racing Fan Club. Last week, the judge ordered Kahne to produce tax and financial records for 2004 and 2005 -- but Ford must keep the records confidential.

Ford disclosed in court filings that it spent well over $1 million on Kahne's development. Ford also agreed to pay Kahne $200,000 a year -- plus a $30,000 signing bonus and a Lincoln "loaner" car for personal use.

After signing a contract with Ford in 2002, Kahne raced Ford vehicles for two teams in the NASCAR Busch Series during the 2002 and 2003 seasons.

He initially drove for Robert Yates Racing in 2002, and then moved to Akins Motorsports with the agreement of Robert Yates.

In 2003, Kahne approached Ford and requested a full-time slot in the more prestigious Nextel Cup for the 2004 season. But Ford told Kahne it wanted him to wait another season.

"There is a danger, however, in moving up too soon," Dan Davis, Ford Racing's director, said in a Sept. 24, 2003, letter to Kahne. "We strongly believe that a premature, full-time entry into the Cup series could have negative impact on performance and future marketability of your skills."

But Kahne had already been looking for another team that would allow him to race in the Nextel Cup.

In August 2003, Kahne told Yates he had an opportunity to race full time in both the Busch Series and Nextel Cup series for Evernham Motorsports, a Dodge team. Yates acknowledged in his deposition that he told Kahne that Evernham was probably "the best seat in the house" and added: "if you were my son, I'd have a hard time telling you not to take (the) opportunity."

Fewer than 10 days after receiving Davis' letter, Kahne signed an agreement to race in the Nextel Cup for Evernham on Oct. 2. He signed another deal on Oct. 3, 2003, with Akins Motorsports to race in the Busch series, which later moved its team to Dodge vehicles.

But Kahne, Ford noted, didn't inform them until Oct. 7, 2003.

The case rests on the meaning of certain terms and provisions in the three-year contract.

Lawyers for Kahne note the deal says the driver agreed to participate in a "mutually acceptable racing series." When Ford refused to let him race in Nextel, his lawyers argue he had a right to void the contract.

The contract also says that if "in the opinion of Ford," the relationship becomes unsatisfactory, then Ford could place Kahne with another team. The automaker claims Kahne abandoned a legal obligation to race for Ford in order to secure more money with a rival.

Ford has tried to settle the case on several occasions.

On April 27, Ford's lawyers sent Kahne's lawyer a letter marked "Confidential: Attorney-to Attorney Settlement Communication."

Ford attorney Maurice Jenkins described Kahne's conduct as "malodorous" -- but then asked Baum to enter arbitration and settle the case "in a private forum that would not expose either party to adverse media scrutiny."

Instead, the letter was filed publicly.

At trial, set for Sept. 19, nearly all of Ford's senior racing executives are expected to testify, as is Kahne. Cleland will hold a hearing July 20 to consider Kahne's request that the case be thrown out without a trial.
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-30-2005, 07:44 PM
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I hope Ford loses! They kinda got slapped in the face when Kahne has done so well in the cup series. To bad they just didn't let him move up like he asked for.
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-30-2005, 09:53 PM
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Why would Ford want to be involved with someone who doesn't honour his word and contract. Kahne is only looking out for himself and not remembering who put him where he is now. Shame on you Kahne. Maybe thats just the American way. Lookout for yourself and screw everyone else.
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-31-2005, 11:39 AM
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Just like all the US companys. I worked for you for 40+ years. Never missed a day of work and always worked OT when they asked. Oh dam we the Co. fucked up. Or the CEO's and share holders want a better bottem line. No pension or heath care for you. Look at GM, the rumor on the grape vine. Is in the next couple years they are going to default on there Pension's for the blue color workers. And the US tax payers are going to get stuck with the bill. Just like Amer airlines did last week. I say good for you K. Kahne. You have too look out for you self. The US companies sure are not going to look after you.

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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-31-2005, 01:44 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by SPOOK R/T
Just like all the US companys. I worked for you for 40+ years. Never missed a day of work and always worked OT when they asked. Oh dam we the Co. fucked up. Or the CEO's and share holders want a better bottem line. No pension or heath care for you. Look at GM, the rumor on the grape vine. Is in the next couple years they are going to default on there Pension's for the blue color workers. And the US tax payers are going to get stuck with the bill. Just like Amer airlines did last week. I say good for you K. Kahne. You have too look out for you self. The US companies sure are not going to look after you.
So true Spook. That's what happened in the steel industry. We have people in the Baltimore area who started at eighteen and put in their 30 years, retired and now have lost their medical benefits and had their pensions reduced by up to 50%. The worst part is for the 'younger ones'; the ones who retired before their 60's are having to pay back some of the pension money they've received so not only did they get a cut, it's a double cut to make up the difference since they decided to 'retro' the cuts. The pension they do get now is of course paid for by the taxpayers.

If Kirk gets in the right position that's exactly what he'll do to GM.
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-02-2005, 09:25 PM
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You forget to mention that he was paid very well for every one of those 40 years. Now he's not working he should not be paid. Maybe he should of saved a few dollars for retirement. It not up to a corporation to lookout for you. Unions have caused this problem.
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-03-2005, 08:12 AM
 
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Originally Posted by adaptabl
You forget to mention that he was paid very well for every one of those 40 years. Now he's not working he should not be paid. Maybe he should of saved a few dollars for retirement. It not up to a corporation to lookout for you. Unions have caused this problem.
Where the hell are you from. These people put years of hard work in to make that company money and in return have an agreement with that company that they will pay a pension to them when they retire. It is not like the last 10 years where you know you need to have a 401K and money put aside because most of the companies will not pay a pension and social security is not worth a damn. I have a family member that was 3 months from retirement from U.S. Steel and now he is going to have to put in another 10 years because he was planning on a pension. Yes it is the corporations job to look out for you when they have said they will. Yes unions are to blame for a lot of different things, but they are not to blame for these companies being bank rupt. Maybe if there C.E.O> and the board did not stick so much in there pockets the workers could survive. What you are saying is BULL SHIT!
On the subject of the thread, go Kahne!

Last edited by wrench; 06-03-2005 at 08:28 AM.
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-03-2005, 02:50 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by adaptabl
You forget to mention that he was paid very well for every one of those 40 years. Now he's not working he should not be paid. Maybe he should of saved a few dollars for retirement. It not up to a corporation to lookout for you. Unions have caused this problem.
You're dead wrong my friend. Why do employees have to honor the contracts but management doesn't. You forgot to mention the majority of those workers have serious health problems from working in an environment that was not only not safe but not healthy. Even after the manufacturers promised there would be no long term health concerns and the work environment was healthy. Which of course they lied and it wasn't.

Asbestos / Cancer etc. is quite common and the death rate is quite high. Much higher than average. They also weren't overpaid as you stated. Management didn't think so or they wouldn't have agreed to the wages. Management are the ones who overpaid themselves and didn't properly invest in their facilities. You blame the ones who had no say in the process.
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-03-2005, 04:16 PM
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Managements main responsibility is the the owners or shareholders. Employees are a resource for the company. If the employee feels they are not being well paid or treated well they can move on(there is usually 100's of people who would die for that job). If its such a even contract why can an employee just not show up and quit? If management wants to fire them they often get sued.

I do not feel sorry for someone who worked 30 years and was paid well and spent every dollar they made. Maybe they should of saved a little instead of buying that vacation home, taking 3 vacations per year or smoking 3 packs a day(then they wonder why they get cancer). U.S steel workers killed there own future with the union demands. Sure they won battles at contract time then lost the war. Management did not have anything left to invest and why would they if the union held them hostage at every contract(wow it sounds like the union auto plants). Union bosses are ones lining there own pockets.

Kahne is a spoilled rich kid with no integrity. Lets hope the court takes his ball.

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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-05-2005, 10:43 PM
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Originally Posted by adaptabl
Managements main responsibility is the the owners or shareholders. Employees are a resource for the company. If the employee feels they are not being well paid or treated well they can move on(there is usually 100's of people who would die for that job). If its such a even contract why can an employee just not show up and quit? If management wants to fire them they often get sued.

I do not feel sorry for someone who worked 30 years and was paid well and spent every dollar they made. Maybe they should of saved a little instead of buying that vacation home, taking 3 vacations per year or smoking 3 packs a day(then they wonder why they get cancer). U.S steel workers killed there own future with the union demands. Sure they won battles at contract time then lost the war. Management did not have anything left to invest and why would they if the union held them hostage at every contract(wow it sounds like the union auto plants). Union bosses are ones lining there own pockets.

Kahne is a spoilled rich kid with no integrity. Lets hope the court takes his ball.
You are so Full Of Bull Shit. Try dirt cheap steel from Brazil, China and other countries that paided there workers $1.00 and hour. And there Gov's paying the Co's losses so they can under cut the price of the competition. Tell they drive them out of business. Me and my father worked, 34 Asbestos Workers Local 34. I remember as a kid going to get the mail. And 2 or 3 times a month getting a letter from the local about another brother passing away from lung cancer. And this was in 1980. Seven years after the US Gov out lawed it. Since then people have found out the Co in the US and Canada, making it. Knew in the 40's that it caused lung cancer. But they keeped it to them self's. And most of the time a simple Hepa filter mask. Would have saved thousands of lives. But then again with your thinking. People lives to Co's are just resource's to be used up and thrown out in the trash.

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Last edited by SPOOK R/T; 06-06-2005 at 01:33 PM.
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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-07-2005, 01:44 PM Thread Starter
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You nailed it Spook !!!
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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-28-2005, 07:27 PM
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haven't heard any further news...anyone else?
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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-30-2005, 01:09 AM Thread Starter
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Not a word. I wonder if they'll settle.
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-19-2005, 05:38 PM
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Kahne's attorneys ask judge to throw out Ford's suit

July 19, 2005
DETROIT (AP) -- Attorneys for Kasey Kahne asked a federal judge to throw out Ford's breach-of-contract lawsuit against the NASCAR driver, one of his lawyers said Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge Robert Cleland in Detroit was to hear arguments on the request Wednesday, attorney David Baum said from New York.

Ford sued Kahne in Wayne County Circuit Court in July 2004, the county where the Michigan automaker is headquartered. The company claimed he signed a contract that obligated him to drive Fords for Robert Yates Racing and appear in promotional activities. But in October 2003, the suit alleged, Kahne bolted Ford and joined a Dodge team owned by Ray Evernham.


The lawsuit was transferred to federal court shortly after it was filed because the parties are from different states, Baum said. Kahne lives in Huntersville, N.C.

Ford has called the suit ``unfortunate,'' and said it believes in honoring contracts.

NASCAR views its teams as independents and drivers as contracted workers hired by each team. Disputes are worked out among each other, with NASCAR having no influence in the results.

Kahne, 25, was named NASCAR Rookie of the Year last season after finishing 13th in the points standings. This season, he is ranked 12th among money leaders but wasn't in the top 20 in the points standings.
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-19-2005, 08:30 PM Thread Starter
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They're in court this week. Doesn't look like they're going to settle.
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