Gid Brown Hollow resident Marian Bragg has signaled her intention to appeal her case against the Rappahannock County Board of Supervisors to the Virginia Supreme Court, following two rulings by Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey W. Parker earlier this year.
The llama farmer’s suit, one of two she filed against the BOS, alleges that the supervisors violated Virginia’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in closed meetings in June through October 2016 when choosing a Rappahannock County Attorney.
Filed in Rappahannock County Circuit Court, the suit purported that the supervisors did not use the proper procedures to announce to the public that the Board would be going into closed session to discuss the County Attorney appointment.
Bragg also charged that the supervisors discussed topics in the closed meetings that were not exempt from FOIA. Certain personnel discussions are considered sensitive and are exempt under FOIA, meaning they can be held outside the public’s view.
However, after a two-day trial in February, Parker issued a March 5 opinion letter stating he found “no ulterior motives” on the part of the supervisors in conducting the closed meetings.
On August 27, Parker issued another opinion letter ruling that Bragg was entitled to an award of fees and damages amounting to $6,250 — a far less sum of the $132,000-plus she requested.
On October 5 of this year, Bragg’s attorney David Konick entered a motion in circuit court for “Reconsideration of [the two] Letter Opinions.” The nine-page document states that the court’s determination or action on several issues was erroneous, including “disavowal of all pre-trial fees and costs.”
But Parker, in an October 28 email to Rappahannock County Circuit Court Clerk Peggy Ralph, wrote:
“I have had the opportunity to review the Motion for Reconsideration filed by the Petitioner in this proceeding and I have the following response: The Court gave the Respondents the opportunity to respond to the said Motion but they declined, relying instead on their previous arguments and written responses to the issues presented. The Petitioner did not request to orally argue, knowing perhaps that not only have the issues been argued extensively already, but that oral argument is only granted upon such motions with permission of the Court. The Opinion Letter of August 27, 2020 dealt largely with evidentiary issues concerning the claimed attorney's fees whereas the Motion for Reconsideration dealt largely with the substantive arguments previously presented and addressed in the Letter of March 5, 2020. The Court believing there was no error in its final ruling denies the said Motion.”
Konick filed the appeal notice in the circuit court on December 18. No appeal motion has yet been filed in the Virginia Supreme Court.