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New hearing set on public's access

- gwright@charlotteobserver.com
Friday, Jun. 10, 2011

The question of whether NASCAR Chairman Brian France’s legal dispute should be open to the public will go back to court in July.

On Friday, the Observer and WCNC-TV filed a motion asking Judge Jena Culler to unseal the case documents, which have been kept secret since the case began in 2008.

France sought to have hearings in his case closed. His lawyer has said the couple’s separation agreement, in particular, contains "intensely private" matters involving their children and finances.

But the N.C. Court of Appeals ruled the courtroom should be open. The court did, however, allow previously filed documents in the case to remain sealed, leaving it to Culler to decide which, if any, documents should be made public.

The Observer has argued that Brian France has no constitutional or compelling right to privacy that would supersede the public’s right to open courts.

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