Attorney says Mayfield owes $372,000

Updated: November 25, 2009, 10:17 PM ET
By David Newton | ESPN.com

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Attorney Bill Diehl filed a lawsuit Wednesday against suspended Sprint Cup driver Jeremy Mayfield for unpaid legal fees.

According to the lawsuit, filed in Mecklenburg County, N.C., Mayfield owes Diehl's Charlotte-based law firm at least $371,973.66, plus attorney fees, interest and late charges.

Mayfield hired Diehl in May shortly after being indefinitely suspended by NASCAR for violating the organization's substance abuse policy. It was revealed in court that Mayfield tested positive for the illegal drug methamphetamines.

Mayfield left Diehl in October and hired attorney Mark Geragos. The suit claims that Diehl's repeated attempts to collect payment from Mayfield were ignored. Diehl, who makes $1,000 an hour, told ESPN.com last month at Talladega Superspeedway that he hadn't been paid.

Mayfield recently put all of his belongings up for auction in Catawba County, N.C. Among the items for sale were 475 acres of land, a home under renovation, jewlery, guns and cars from Mayfield's personal collection.

Mayfield told a North Carolina television station he was holding the auction for fun, not because he needed the money.

Meanwhile, Mayfield's new attorney filed a motion in U.S. District Court that claims NASCAR chairman Brian France misrepresented his primary residence to have Mayfield's lawsuit moved to federal court.

The second filing, by Geragos' legal team, is in response to NASCAR's attempt to temporarily halt the discovery process. In it, Mayfield claims NASCAR should not have succeeding in moving the original lawsuit from North Carolina state courts to federal court.

The change of venue came after France admitted he owns a home in North Carolina, but that Florida is his primary residence.

David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at Dnewtonespn@aol.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

David Newton | email

ESPN Carolina Panthers reporter