FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contacts:
Kristine Dunkerton, Executive Director
Phone: 410-366-0922 x17
Email address: kristined@communitylaw.org

Robin Jacobs, Staff Attorney
Phone: 410-366-0922 x15
Email address: robinj@communitylaw.org

A Victory Against Vacant Properties

Court Orders Vacant Property Owners to Fix Nuisance Conditions in 49 Properties in a Community Association-Led Lawsuit

Baltimore, MD (August 12, 2014) - Six of Baltimore City's community associations won an early victory in their lawsuit against owners of vacant, dangerous and uninhabitable properties. On July 31, the Circuit Court for Baltimore City granted summary judgment on the associations' statutory nuisance claim under the recently enacted Community Bill of Rights (Real Property 14-123).   

 

Kristine Dunkerton, Executive Director of Community Law Center, Inc., counsel for the plaintiff community associations, remarked, "The Order is the first ruling under the Community Bill of Rights statute. This precedent is a triumph for neighborhoods suffering from dilapidated vacant properties."

 

"The claim succeeded in arguing that, where there was an outstanding building violation notice from the City and the community satisfied certain notice requirements, the community associations were entitled as a matter of law to an order mandating a remedy to the problem properties," according to Robin Jacobs, a Community Law Center lawyer in the case.

 

Venable LLP serves as pro bono co-counsel, along with the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law's Community Development Clinic, which is led by Professor Barbara Bezdek. "We enjoy working with the Community Law Center and the community associations, and are pleased to play an important role in this initial win in the case," explained Jason Rose, a partner at Venable.

 

The six community association plaintiffs in this lawsuit are: Coldstream-Homestead-Montebello Community Corporation, Alliance of Rosemont Community Organizations, Inc., Mount Clare Community Council, Inc., Carrollton Ridge Community Association, Inc., Operation ReachOut SouthWest, Inc., and Greater Greenmount Community Association, Inc. Grace Willis, a director of Greater Greenmount Community Association, Inc., stated, "we are proud to be one of the first communities to successfully pursue a Community Bill of Rights claim against an owner whose properties pose a danger to the neighborhood."

 

The order requires the Defendant owners to abate the nuisance conditions and all existing code violations present at 49 vacant buildings within 90 days. The buildings subject to the order are owned by several LLCs of which Scott Wizig is the managing member: Baltimore Return Fund, LLC; Chesapeake Row Homes, LLC; Compound Yield Play, LLC; Harbor Pier Homes, LLC; Inbrook Homes, LLC; MD Liberty Homes, LLC; Nicky's Row Homes, LLC; Port Homes, LLC; and Wiz Homes, LLC. Trial on the remaining claims in the lawsuit, including the demand for monetary damages in the amount of $8 million, is scheduled to begin on September 30. 

About Community Law Center, Inc.
Community Law Center, Inc., a Baltimore-based nonprofit law firm, provides legal services to community and nonprofit organizations throughout Maryland to promote stronger nonprofits and more vibrant neighborhoods.

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