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August 10, 2016  

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Anatomy of a Civil Lawsuit
By Donna Watts-Lamont, J.D., LL.M.

As was reported by our AOTB-POA President in the April 2016 issue of The Pier, our Association is in the process of defending a civil lawsuit brought by two of our members. The complaint and other documents from the lawsuit may be found and reviewed by clicking here.
Many questions are being asked within our community regarding the case. What's happening with the case? When will we get a decision in the case? Why is it taking so long? What will the outcome be? As of yet, many, if not most, of your questions cannot be answered. That is the nature of a civil case.

A civil case follows a process. That process is governed by the laws, rules, and regulations of the State of Maryland. Once a complaint has been filed that process is set in motion. Short of a settlement being reached, civil matters proceed at a slow and deliberate pace. And even if settled, a case can take substantial time to be concluded, as was the case with the amicably resolved Chesapeake Walk Agreement.

As the current case proceeds to court, each side requires substantial time to file and respond to pleadings and various motions that may be filed. Some of these filings may be ruled on by the Court without the necessity of a hearing, while others will require a hearing before the Court.
The parties are also allowed time to conduct "Discovery." Discovery, as a legal term, refers to the process that allows both sides to gather relevant evidence from the opposing party so as to avoid surprises, uncover relevant facts, and prepare for trial. Discovery is done by written Interrogatories, Request for Production of Documents, and/or Request for Admissions.
All these steps will be taken before a trial on the actual merits of the case can begin. And all of this takes time. The current Case Information for this litigation is seven pages long and is a public record. It lists the parties, their attorneys, and all documents that have been filed with the Court in this matter. Viewing this document will keep you up to date on the case proceedings. You can view this document by following these steps:
1. Log on to
2. Read the Disclaimer
3. Click on the box that you have read, understood and agree to terms, conditions and limitations noted above.
4. Click Continue
5. You will see two areas highlighted in blue. In the smaller area at the bottom, for Court, select Anne Arundel County Circuit Court and type in C-02-CV-15-003736 for the case number.
6. Click Get Case. This will bring up the Case Information.

By checking the Case Information from time to time you will be able to keep up with what is happening in this case. Right now, dates of importance are August 22, 2016, at which time the Court will hear arguments from both parties' attorneys on Motions filed and December 7, 2016, when a Pre-Trial Conference is scheduled.

We very much hope to see as many of you as possible at the August 22 session to show your support for your neighborhood's position. That hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. in Courtroom 3B at the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County. The Circuit Court is located at 8 Church Circle, Annapolis.
Should this matter proceed to trial on the merits, that hearing will not be scheduled until sometime in 2017.

Please contact me, Donna Watts-Lamont, Vice President, POA-AOTB, Home 410-268-4130, Mobile 410-971-9306,, for any further information, but please remember we cannot discuss any strategic specifics which may impair the ability of our legal council to defend your rights in this unfortunate matter.