Both sides in a dispute over control of Belward Farm have cross-filed motions asking the court to rule in their favor and immediately end litigation over whether Johns Hopkins University may build a mega commercial research center on the property.
Attorneys for Johns Hopkins maintain the school's plan is well within the scope of an agreement signed in 1989 that transferred the property from then-owner Elizabeth Banks to the school.
In his cross-motion, however, Tim Newell, representing the family, contends the farm was specifically donated for the school to use it for academic purposes -- not a commercial enterprise.
The family's lawsuit seeks to prevent the university from building a 4.7 million-square-foot commercial science park on the property.
on the farm.
In its motion, the university argues the contract is the only fact before the judge that matters, and that a key 18-word phrase — that any development will be limited to “agricultural, academic, research and development, delivery of health and medical care and services, or related purposes only" — does not restrict the density of development, the height of buildings, or the university's right to lease to non-Johns Hopkins tenants.
The university also stated that it believes evidence shows that Johns Hopkins intended that Belward be a research center, not an education site, and is not restricted in any way by agreements beyond the contract language.
On Tuesday, attorneys for Newell filed a motion of their own, arguing that evidence clearly proves JHU is in violation of its agreement with Elizabeth Banks.
"Based on all that we've learned during discovery and from our fact and expert witness, we are more confident than ever in the merits of our case," Newell said in a statement. "The facts are indisputable and the law is on our side, so we are hopeful the court will grant summary judgment in our favor and deny Hopkins' request for summary judgment."