Attorneys with Baltimore-based Rosenberg Martin Greenberg LLP began entering their appearance on behalf of Harford County Tuesday in an ongoing lawsuit over the completion of a subdivision being marketed as a retirement community for Ahmadiyya Muslims.
The Baltimore Sun reported last month that the county council had approved County Attorney Melissa Lambert’s request to bring in outside counsel to assist the county with the litigation, which has been handled by the county law department to this point.
Lambert said that the complexities of the litigation and volume of documents were too much for the one attorney in her office handling the case.
A federal judge ordered the county to issue permits for 14 completed homes on June 22, finding the county’s refusal to do so was motivated in part by “active and vile racist animus” expressed by some members of the community.
David Matthew Wyand and Jamar R. Brown entered their appearance on behalf of the county defendants Tuesday.
The plaintiffs, which include the owner and builder of the subdivision, the nonprofit organizing the sales and a purchaser who has not been able to move in without a use and occupancy permit, are represented by attorneys from Kramon & Graham LLP and Venable LLP in Baltimore.
Barring any appeal, which a lawyer with the county declined to comment on at the time, the case will proceed to trial as to the remaining lots, which have not had houses built on them.
In their complaint, the plaintiffs contended the county began manufacturing roadblocks after officials heard complaints about the community being “Muslim-only” and including a mosque. The county argued at a multiday hearing that officials were not swayed by public outcry but merely enforced its code and practices and that the project had permit and bond issues.
The case is OT LLC et al. v. Harford County, Maryland et al., 1:17-cv-02812-GLR.