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Paving a Restaurant's Parking Lot Engenders Considerable Litigation

In Oregon, LLC v. Falls Road Community Association, No. 1234, Sept. Term, 2014, unreported (Md.Ct.Spec.App. Jan. 29, 2016), as part of a long string of legal proceedings pertaining to the repaving of a gravel parking lot at The Oregon Grill restaurant, the Court of Special Appeals vacated an injunction issued by the Circuit Court for Baltimore County.

The injunction arose from a long-contested legal battle over the 2006 repaving of the parking lot of The Oregon Grille, a well-known restaurant in Hunt Valley, Maryland. Oregon, LLC leased the property from Baltimore County in 1985 and, in 1995, received approval from Baltimore County’s Board of Appeals to expand the size of the parking lot. The Board of Appeals subjected its approval to several conditions, including a requirement that the parking lot be surfaced with crushed stone or a similar material. In 2004, the Board of Appeals reiterated the parking lot surface requirements. However, in 2006 Baltimore County resurfaced the parking lot with bituminous asphalt paving and required Oregon, LLC to reimburse Baltimore County for the cost of the repaving.

In response to the repaving, Falls Road Community Association filed an action in the Circuit Court for Baltimore County against Oregon, LLC and Baltimore County. The action sought a declaratory judgment that the repaving violated the Board of Appeals’ orders and that those orders were enforceable. The Association also sought an injunction requiring removal of the bituminous asphalt paving. In response, the circuit court held that the issuance of a declaratory judgment and an injunction was not authorized, and the Court of Special Appeals affirmed. However, the Court of Appeals held that a declaratory judgment issued in conjunction with an injunction could properly resolve the legal question and remanded the case to the circuit court.

Subsequently, the circuit court issued a declaratory judgment stating that the repaving of The Oregon Grille’s parking lot violated the Board of Appeals’ orders and issued an injunction ordering Baltimore County to “remove the paved parking lot from its property at the Oregon Grille no later than July 1, 2016.” The circuit court also found that Baltimore County was responsible for violating the Board of Appeals’ orders in the 2006 repaving.

Because Baltimore County demanded that Oregon, LLC pay the costs of the 2006 repaving and because the circuit court’s injunction did not specify which entity would be financially responsible for removing the repaving and any work to be done thereafter, Oregon, LLC filed a motion with the circuit court. Oregon, LLC sought an order stating that Baltimore County is responsible for removing the paved parking lot and paying the costs of the removal, and that it will have no recourse against Oregon, LLC. The circuit court denied Oregon, LLC’s request to amend the court’s ruling. Oregon, LLC appealed to the Court of Special Appeals.

The Court of Special Appeals agreed with Oregon, LLC that the circuit court’s ruling was not specific enough to make clear to Oregon, LLC or Baltimore County what is expected of each party under the court’s order, stating that an injunction must contain enough specificity that a party is not left to speculate as to its obligations. The Court of Special Appeals remanded the case to the circuit court for the court to alter its order so that Oregon, LLC and Baltimore County will be clear about their obligations for the removal of the bituminous asphalt paving and the subsequent work to repair the parking lot of The Oregon Grille.

For questions, please contact Ed Levin (410-576-1900).

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Date

03.14.16

Type

Publications

Authors

Levin, Edward J.

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