Jason Wahler's past isn't behind him just yet.
A civil assault-and-battery trial involving the former Laguna Beach and Hills bad boy was suspended Tuesday to allow the plaintiff's attorney to appeal some recent defense-favoring rulings to California's 2nd District Court of Appeal.
Tow-truck driver Dario Stevenson sued Wahler and his model friend Kristen DeLuca in August 2007 for roughing him up and spewing racial epithets at him on Sept. 22, 2006, while he was providing roadside assistance on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles.
Stevenson's camp has already agreed to a $3,000 settlement from DeLuca, but has said it will accept no less than $300,000 from Wahler, who was also found to have a 0.22 blood-alcohol level at the time and avoided a 60-day jail sentence on criminal battery charges by checking into an intensive rehab program.
The plaintiff's lawyer, Daniel I. Wagner, is looking to overturn L.A. Superior Court Judge Elizabeth A. Grimes' rulings that prevent him from bringing up Wahler's checkered rap sheet (previous arrests for assault, underage drinking, etc.) in court but allow the defense to mention Stevenson's conviction on an embezzlement rap.
In court documents filed Friday, Wagner stated that Stevenson's conviction occurred in 1991 and was for felony conspiracy to sell controlled substances—hardly something that has bearing on this case, the lawyer argued.
But Grimes upheld her original decision—that the bust was not too long ago and could still be used to question the plaintiff's credibility.
As it stands, Wagner is also not allowed to call to the stand Officer Jonathan Wallace, who was also on the receiving end of Wahler's vitriol in '06 and is suing both him and DeLuca, nor Jose Alarcon, another tow-truck driver at the scene who claims that he received similar verbal treatment from the reality-TV star.
Pending the appellate court's decision, Grimes has postponed jury selection until the panel has ruled on all of Stevenson's issues.