Rappahannock County Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey W. Parker has ordered Bragg v the Board of Supervisors to go to trial, in doing so overruling the respondent’s demurrer or objections in the case.
Local resident Marian Bragg in September 2016 filed a lawsuit alleging that the BOS had, on several occasions, violated Virginia’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by giving improper public notification before the supervisors went into closed session.
Last Thursday, Parker heard a list of outstanding issues that needed to be resolved before the case — which he said has dragged out for two years — goes to trial.
County Attorney Art Goff and local attorney Mike Brown, both representing the BOS, argued that several points made by Bragg should be dismissed because they were irrelevant or invalid. Bragg’s attorney, David Konick, argued successfully that the allegations had merit.
Before siding with Konick and overruling the demurrer, Parker thanked all the attorneys for their work and preparation. A trial date has yet to be set.
Parker took over the case — informally known as Bragg 1— and a second FOIA suit Bragg filed against the BOS in 2017 — Bragg 2 — after Judge Alfred D. Swersky, a substitute in Rappahannock’s 20th Judicial Circuit, retired from the bench. Swersky left before ruling on outstanding motions in Bragg 1.
After Judge Swersky denied a petition in Bragg 1 in March 2017 — finding that certain procedural aspects of the complaint had not been met — Konick appealed to the Virginia Supreme Court. The appeal was heard in April this year and Swersky’s ruling was reversed in a high court order issued in May.
Parker recently told Goff and Konick: “There is so much the court has to absorb. I need to acquaint myself with this rather voluminous file.” He instructed the attorneys to make a list of the outstanding issues, which were argued before Parker last Thursday.