Judge Fast-Tracks Belward Farm, JHU Lawsuit

A scheduling hearing is set for July 6.

(UPDATE, 4:21 p.m.) -- The dispute over Belward Farm and what Johns Hopkins University can do with it will begin July 6 with a scheduling hearing before Judge Ronald B. Rubin, according to a release from plaintiff Tim Newell.

Judge John W. Debelius, III issued a decision this week in response to a request in April from the university to fast-track the case, according to the release, assigning the case to the Court’s Business and Technology Case Management Program, Expedited Track 5.

The case could be settled within six months, according to expedition guidelines. (See the PDF on the right for a diagram of the process.)

However, the judge will decide whether the official expedition begins today, the day of the hearing, or at some future point.

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The university originally moved to delay proceedings after the Montgomery County Circuit Court brought on Nov. 10, 2011, on behalf of the intentions of his aunt Elizabeth Beall Banks and her two siblings, who sold the property to JHU in 1989.

Newell said the university's plans on the 138-acre farm is a form of profiteering and violates the use restrictions outlined in the ownership transfer.

“It is sad and ironic that Johns Hopkins, the university my Aunt Elizabeth was so fond of, has become the type of developer she tried so hard to protect the Farm from,” Newell said in the release.

University spokeswoman Robin Ferrier said school officials are happy the lawsuit has been expedited.

“We remain confident that, ultimately, the court will agree that nothing in the contract or deed restricts the scale, height, or density of development of the campus or prevents the university from leasing to other parties there,” Ferrier wrote in an e-mail Thursday.

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Editor's note: This article has been updated to reflect that the expedited schedule could begin at a later date, meaning the case could take longer than six months to resolve.


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