Former NASCAR champion Tony Stewart has dropped his appeal of a court ruling that said an insurance company would not be liable to pay any damages associated with a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the parents of another auto racing driver.

Stewart’s attorney, Derek R. Molter of the Indianapolis law firm of Ice Miller, filed the notice of withdrawal on Wednesday. The document, filed with the 2nd U.S. Court of Appeals, stipulates that the appeal may be reinstated by Jan. 30.

Molter declined comment about the reason for withdrawing the appeal when contacted Monday. Messages left for Stewart’s public relations representatives seeking comment were not returned Monday.

If the appeal is not reinstated, Stewart, a Columbus resident, would be liable for any payments in the wrongful death suit filed by the parents of Kevin Ward Jr.

Stewart and Ward were competing in an Empire Super Sprint race Aug. 9, 2014, at the Canandaigua (New York) Motorsports Park, where Stewart’s car struck and killed Ward. The 25-lap race was under caution when Ward, who had exited his car, was struck. Stewart’s car was behind another, which swerved to avoid the driver, before he hit Ward.

The following month, a 23-person Ontario County, New York, grand jury declined to indict Stewart on either of two charges: manslaughter in the second degree and criminally negligent homicide.

On Aug. 4, 2015, Kevin Ward Sr. and Pam Ward, the father and mother of Kevin Ward Jr., filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Stewart that blames him for the younger Ward’s death and seeks damages, according to court documents.

The Ward vs. Stewart parties were ordered on Dec. 12, 2016, to participate in the Mandatory Mediation Program, according to court documents with the U.S. Northern District Court of New York. The mediation program is used to encourage parties to reach a resolution to their dispute, but doesn’t compel them to settle. Also, a March 31, 2017, deadline was set for completing mediation, court documents state.

AXIS Insurance Co. has used legal recourse to prove that it would not be responsible for paying any damages on behalf of Stewart in the wrongful death lawsuit.

On Sept. 18, 2015, Axis Insurance filed a lawsuit against Stewart with the U.S. Northern District Court of New York seeking a declaration that that AXIS doesn’t have to defend or indemnify Stewart in the lawsuit filed by Ward’s parents, documents state.

The insurance company said that a policy issued to Tony Stewart Racing Enterprises for the period of Jan. 1, 2014, to Jan. 1, 2015, did not cover the Empire Super Sprint event because it was not included in a list of events to be insured. AXIS also stated in the lawsuit that the insurance policy didn’t apply to claims brought by one race driver against another race driver.

A judgment issued July 29, 2016, in the U.S. Northern District Court of New York stated that AXIS Insurance is not obligated to defend or indemnify him in the lawsuit brought by Ward’s parents.

Stewart’s attorney filed an appeal of the judgment on Aug. 26, 2016.

Timeline

Aug. 9, 2014: At a race at the Canandaigua (New York) Motorsports Park, Stewart’s car hits and kills sprint-car driver Kevin Ward Jr., who exited his car and appeared to confront Stewart. The 25-lap race was under caution when Ward was struck. Stewart’s car was behind another, which swerved to avoid the driver, before he hit Ward.

Aug. 4, 2015: Family of Kevin Ward Jr. files wrongful death lawsuit against Stewart.

Sept. 18, 2015: AXIS Insurance files a lawsuit against Stewart with the U.S. Northern District Court of New York seeking a declaration that that AXIS doesn’t have to defend or indemnify Stewart in the lawsuit filed by Ward’s parents, documents state.

Sept. 24, 2014: Ontario County (New York) District Attorney Michael Tantillo announces that a 23-person Ontario County grand jury declined to indict Stewart on either of two charges: manslaughter in the second degree and criminally negligent homicide.

July 29, 2016: U.S. Northern District Court of New York rules that AXIS Insurance is not obligated to defend or indemnify him in the lawsuit brought by Ward’s parents.

Aug. 26, 2016: Stewart’s attorney files an appeal of the judgment in favor of AXIS Insurance.

Dec. 12, 2016: Judge orders both parties in the Ward vs. Stewart wrongful death lawsuit to participate in a mediation program and complete it by March 31, 2017.

Jan. 4, 2017: Stewart’s attorney files notice of withdrawal of the appeal, with stipulation that it could be refiled by Jan. 30.

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Kirk Johannesen is assistant managing editor of The Republic. He can be reached at johannesen@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5639.