Farr’s lawyer on class action
The purpose of this letter is to address recent developments in the [Richard D. Farr, et al. v. Ocean Pines Association, Inc., et al. Circuit Court for Worcester County, Maryland Case No. C-23-CV-21-000127] case.
The case was originally filed by Mr. Farr, on his own behalf and on behalf of a “class” of plaintiffs, specifically, Ocean Pines voters who cast votes for Mr. Farr before the purported disqualification decision.
The Maryland Rules allow for a case to be filed in that fashion (on behalf of a class of unnamed plaintiffs) when there are many individuals who have been harmed in the same way, certain other conditions are met, and the Court approves such an approach.
In this case, by way of a recently filed amended complaint, we eliminated the “class action” aspect of the case and, instead, added certain specifically named voters as co-plaintiffs in the case.
These voters all voted for Mr. Farr before his candidacy was disqualified (in closed session of the Board) and the Board decided (in closed session) to proceed with the election and counting of all votes except those cast for Mr. Farr.
The effect of that (closed session) decision by the Board, in my view, partly disenfranchised those voters who had already submitted a vote for Mr. Farr.
This is the reason why the individually named co-plaintiffs have joined the case – they are conscientious Ocean Pines citizens who, out of civic concern, do not want to be disenfranchised by closed-door decision-making at the end of an election.
Mr. Farr’s co-plaintiffs are not seeking money in this case and they are not a source for payment of my firm’s fees (which are being paid by Mr. Farr and, to some degree, voluntary donors to a fund for such fees).
They see the board’s actions as wrong, as Mr. Farr does, and they wish to correct those (alleged) wrongs. It is their right to take an active position in this regard, just as it the right of any other OPA member to support the Board’s side of this case.
Unfortunately, on certain “blogs” and perhaps elsewhere in the public domain (for example, the blog known as “Ocean Pines Forum”), there has been what in my opinion is incorrect and irresponsible commentary about the adding of the co-plaintiffs to the case, which either criticizes them or baits/invites criticism and judgment of them.
The co-plaintiffs seek nothing in this matter other than vindication of their right to cast two votes in the election and have both of those votes counted; they also support Mr. Farr’s position vis-à-vis his eligibility to run.
My sincere hope is that none of the co-plaintiffs will be criticized, castigated, singled out, unfairly judged, or impugned for taking an active stance in what is an important matter of public interest in Ocean Pines; and that commentary in the public domain – about them and toward them – will be fair, reasonable, accurate, and responsible.
Bruce F. Bright
Attorney for Rick Farr