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Winery lawsuit looking for judge

- Winery lawsuit looking for judge subhead: Change of venue request by Marterella denied at circuit court A change of venue request by winery owner Kate Marterella for her lawsuit against a Warrenton-based homeowners association was denied by Fauquier County Circuit Court judge Jeffrey Parker on Sept. 17. This means the trial will take place as scheduled in Fauquier County Circuit Court rather than being moved to another circuit court in the commonwealth.

Winery lawsuit looking for judge

Winery lawsuit looking for judge
subhead: Change of venue request by Marterella denied at circuit court

A change of venue request by winery owner Kate Marterella for her lawsuit against a Warrenton-based homeowners association was denied by Fauquier County Circuit Court judge Jeffrey Parker on Sept. 17. This means the trial will take place as scheduled in Fauquier County Circuit Court rather than being moved to another circuit court in the commonwealth.

The problem: Every circuit court judge in Fauquier County has refused to hear the case.

Earlier this summer, the HOA filed for a demurrer hearing, which would throw out the lawsuit.
Marterella's legal team, led by Virginia Sen. Chap Petersen, filed an opposition to the demurrer a few weeks later. No date has been set.

A demurrer hearing asks a judge to consider if there is a legally sufficient claim. If the judge rules that there is, a trial date will be set.
The owner of Marterella Winery is suing Bellevue Landowners Council on various counts after she won a lengthy lawsuit initiated by the HOA several years ago.

Marterella requested a change of venue after all four of the county's circuit court judges recused themselves earlier this summer. During the Sept. 17 hearing, Parker said he wouldn't hear the change of venue because he'd already recused himself from the matter.

Because the request was denied, the Supreme Court of Virginia will likely assign a retired judge or bring in another judge to Fauquier County to preside over the latest lawsuit, said Marterella attorney Nathan Baney.

Baney said the recusals by all the judges was unusual but that he had to "trust the judge and their judgment."
There is no specific timetable on when the assigning of a judge would occur, said Baney.

The determination on the merits of the demurrer will be heard once the case is assigned, said Baney.
Filed on June 2, Marterella's lawsuit contends that members of the HOA were behind both an IRS audit in 2011 and recent complaints to the Alcohol Beverage Control Board and the Fauquier County Zoning Office.

Those complaints led to two separate investigations of her winery, said Marterella.
A six-year legal battle during which her husband died of cancer culminated in a victory for Marterella in the Supreme Court in 2012 but nonetheless put her on the brink of foreclosure.

Marterella filed for Chapter 12 bankruptcy protection earlier this year to save her winery. On Sept. 16, she informed the “Times: that her reorganization plans have been approved.

"Things are looking up," Marterella stated in an email.
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