Heartland Motorsports Park’s lawsuit against Shawnee County was dismissed


A Shawnee County District Court judge on Friday dismissed a lawsuit brought by the company that owns Heartland Motorsports Park against the county and its appraisal office.

Judge Thomas G. Luedke issued a 46-page decision returning summary judgment in favor of the county in the 11-count complaint.

A summary judgment is a decision made by a court without a full hearing.

“Pending the plaintiffs an opportunity to appeal, Shawnee County will have no further comment at this time,” Shawnee County Assistant Counsel Ashley Bieger said Friday afternoon.

More:Judge: Shawnee County technically violated KORA requirements over Heartland Park

Heartland Park sued the county in 2019

Heartland Motorsports Park owner Shelby Motorsports Inc. filed the lawsuit in November 2019 against the county, its appraisal office, appraiser Steve Bauman and assistant appraiser Stacy Berry.

The lawsuit continued an ongoing dispute between Heartland Motorsports Park and Shawnee County over the facility’s property tax estimate.

Allegations were made that included breach of contract, breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing, fraud, negligent misrepresentation, civil conspiracy, criminal damage to property, and violations of the Kansas and US Constitutions.

County Councilor Jim Crowl told the Capital-Journal in November 2019 that the lawsuit’s allegations were “baseless.”

Luedke’s decision on Friday detailed each of the 11 charges while explaining why Shelby Motorsports failed to make an appropriate case for all.

He noted that Bauman and Berry were entitled to qualifying immunity from Shelby Motorsports’ constitutional demands.

Qualified immunity protects government officials exercising discretionary functions from liability for civil damages when their conduct did not violate clearly stated legal or constitutional rights that a reasonable person would have known.

More:The Kansas Supreme Court rules in favor of Topeka in Jayhawk Racing’s 2016 lawsuit

Heartland Park’s owner bought the company in 2015 for $2.4 million

Payne paid $2.4 million to purchase Heartland Motorsports Park, formerly Heartland Park Topeka, at 7530 SW Topeka Blvd in December 2015.

Payne’s company, then known as Shelby Development in LLC, filed a separate lawsuit in July 2019 against Shawnee County clerk Cynthia Beck.

That lawsuit alleged three violations of the Kansas Open Records Act by Shawnee County relating to the 2016 and 2017 Heartland Motorsports Park ratings.

Luedke dismissed that lawsuit in March 2021.

Tim Hrenchir can be reached at [email protected] or 785-213-5934.


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