Judge Dismisses Suit Against Cobb

Jennifer Jo Cobb

A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit against Jennifer Jo Cobb on Thursday that had been filed by former partner David Novak. (Photo: Getty Images)

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TALLADEGA, Ala. - A federal judge Thursday granted Jennifer Jo Cobb’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit by former business partner David Novak, ending a chapter in a case that has included accusations of stealing race equipment and arrests - including to a fellow competitor.

Despite the defeat, Novak is not done, according to his attorney, R. Michael Wells, Jr.

"Mr. Novak has many other state court remedies which he will consider,’‘ Wells wrote in an email to Motor Racing Network. “Defendant Cobb's motion was a technical one based on jurisdiction, and the Court did not reach the merits of the case. When the merits are reached, Mr. Novak will be vindicated."

Cobb said Friday at Talladega Superspeedway she wasn’t surprised by the decision.

“Obviously, it’s one stop toward closure on the whole topic and that’s what we’re really most interested in,’’ she told Motor Racing Network. “We’re all just trying to go racing. The sooner this junk stops, the better way we can focus, all of us. "

Cobb’s suit against Novak remains in District Court of Wyandotte County, Kan. A hearing on damages is scheduled Nov. 20.

“I’m hoping between the federal case being dropped, the Kansas case starting to come to an end, maybe we can even get rid of the criminal stuff because I’m really not all that interested in going through juries and a long process,'' she said. "I want a  fresh 2014.’’

Novak filed a lawsuit in February in U.S. District Court in North Carolina claiming he had contributed more than $1 million to the race team he co-owned with Cobb and that she had removed nearly $250,000 for personal use.

Novak also claimed that Cobb broke into the team’s warehouse in January and stole the team’s trailer, which transported the Camping World Series truck she drove.

The trailer, valued at nearly $280,000, was stolen from Cobb in May.

Arrest warrants were issued in May for Mike Harmon, a driver in the Camping World Truck Series, Novak and Sheila Rice in relation to the trailer theft.

Harmon denied he stole it in May, saying: “I know she’s got a lot of animosity toward me because Dave has helped me some this year and because I helped him retrieve his stuff. She thinks it’s her stuff. If you go to Wal-Mart, you’ve got to pay for the stuff before you leave before it’s yours. She did not pay for it.’’

Additional arrest warrants were issued in June for Harmon and Novak for the theft of five racing trucks, two races cars and other property belonging to Cobb with a total value of $125,000, according to a report by the Rowan County (N.C.) Sheriff’s Office. Cobb said the trailer and other equipment have not been retrieved.

Harmon and Novak both have a court appearance scheduled for Oct. 30 in Rowan County.

Novak sought a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction in February to keep Cobb from operating equipment owned by JJC Racing, which was jointly owned by Cobb and Novak, and pay back funds he claimed she took. Judge Richard L. Voorhees denied that motion.

Judge Voorhees granted Cobb’s motion to dismiss the suit Thursday, citing it lacked subject matter jurisdiction, which is the requirement that the court have power to hear the specific kind of claim that is brought.     

Motor Racing Network – “The Voice of NASCAR” – will have live coverage of Saturday's Fred's 250 Powered by Coca-Cola from Talladega Superspeedway at 3:30 p.m. (ET), with live streaming at MotorRacingNetwork.com.

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