A race organizer’s failure to bring promised IndyCar Boston Grand Prix Labor Day weekend races to the finish line has resulted in an award of nearly $4 million in damages to the Indianapolis-based open-wheel racing series, but it’s unclear how much IndyCar may be able to recoup from bankrupt promoters.
Judge Tanya Walton Pratt on Tuesday awarded IndyCar damages of $3,926,795.48 after issuing a default judgment against defendant John Casey, who did not respond to the lawsuit. Pratt previously ruled in federal court in Indianapolis that Casey, who had signed a contract as a guarantor for the races, was liable for sanction fees for 2016 and 2017 races in Boston that were canceled.
Casey was an organizer of Boston Grand Prix LLC, which in May 2015 entered an agreement host an IndyCar road race on Boston city streets each Labor Day weekend from 2016 to 2020. But organizers called off the event in April 2016, prompting the IndyCar suit. The series also was forced to refund $925,000 of more than $2 million in race ticket sales after Boston GP filed for bankruptcy in July 2016.
Pratt awarded IndyCar nearly all the damages it sought in its complaint against Casey for breach of contract and fraudulent misrepresentation. “Because the Boston Race was cancelled due to a relationship gone wrong between Boston GP and the City of Boston, Boston GP breached due to non-performance. At that time, Casey’s obligations under the Guaranty became due and his failure to compensate IndyCar resulted in his breach of his obligations thereunder. IndyCar has suffered damages as a result of Casey’s breach.”
The court determined that in addition to breach, Casey fraudulently and knowingly misrepresented his net worth, and IndyCar was damaged because it relied on his representations in entering the contracts for the Boston races.
IndyCar claimed losses of $4.2 million from the cancelled Boston races, and in the suit before Pratt sought damages of just under $4 million. Pratt declined, however, to award IndyCar damages for its claims of reputational harm, noting the planned Boston races were replaced on the schedule with a Labor Day weekend race at Watkins Glen, New York.
Meanwhile, Casey sued the city of Boston in Massachusetts state court in September 2017, seeking $15.5 million in damages. Online court records show that suit was dismissed last month.