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Election unlikely to be delayed by Hill lawsuit, clerk says

By Josh Davis, Associate Editor

(July 5 2018) In an amended complaint filed with the Worcester County Circuit Court June 27, Brett Hill again disputed the ruling by Ocean Pines Association officials that he is ineligible to run in this year’s election.

Hill requested a temporary restraining order to halt election proceedings, but that was apparently denied.

According to the complaint, Hill’s application was reviewed on May 15 and ruled ineligible because his assessments had not been paid in time.

He argued the assessments were invoiced on May 1 and not due until May 31.

Hill asked for a preliminary injunction claiming the “Plaintiff [Hill] will suffer immediate, substantial and irreparable injury, loss and damage before a full hearing can be held if the Defendant does not pause the election advertising and ballot creation.”

He alleged breach of fiduciary duty and demanded judgment against Director Colette Horn, the “Defendant Board Member,” of $20,425 and $50,000 in punitive damages.

Hill also requested a temporary restraining order.

“Allowing Defendant Board to proceed with printing and distributing of ballots when they lack a duly qualified candidate without a determination by this Court of the issues raised … would result in immediate, substantial, and irreparable harm,” the complaint stated.

He asked the court to require the board to stop printing and mailing ballots and “to cease any candidate forums or other promotional events until a list of qualified candidates can be determined by this Court.”

Hill, in an emailed statement last Thursday, said he spoke with Ocean Pines’ attorney once, the week before, “and he had expressed an interested to resolve this quickly and follow up promptly.

“I have reached out twice since that conversation, with no response,” Hill said. “At this point, I have asked the court to hold the election until a full hearing can be held, since it appears we are not moving towards any common ground quickly.”

A representative from the Worcester County Clerk of Court’s office said the election was not likely to be interrupted and the restraining order was denied.

According to the representative, summons were issued on June 27 and “were still outstanding.” She said Ocean Pines was “responsible for filing an answer once they are served.”

Summons “were only just issued on [June 27], which was last week. They have to be mailed to the plaintiff, the plaintiff still has to serve that, and then they have 30 days to answer once they’re served,” she said. “You’re not going to have an answer before the election. If the ballots go out next week [as scheduled], the court is not going to rule before then.”

Members of the Ocean Pines Board did not respond to requests for comment on this story.