In 2017, when the Plaza was threatened to be razed, we asked DC Superior Court for an injunction. After lengthy hearings over many days with many witnesses and showing of evidence, Judge Todd Edelman issued an injunction, stopping the razing of the plaza and putting our case on track for a speedy trial.
Before the trial was held, Suntrust (now Truist bank) acting as a very large national bank, petitioned the case be moved to Federal Court and it was. The case sat in D.C. Federal Court for two+ years. Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell bounced the case back to DC Superior Court in 2020.
Judge Puig-Lugo was newly assigned to preside over the case as it returned to DC Superior Court. At the very first hearing in January 2021, Puig-Lugo summarily dismissed the case, ordered the lifting of the injunction, and went as far as to suggest that Suntrust could immediately take out sledge hammers and begin to smash up the plaza.
Plaza supporters appealed this arbitrary dismissal of our case to the highest Court in DC, the DC Court of Appeals. Briefings were filed and oral argument was heard by a 3-justice panel on March 17, 2022. On December 22, 2022, the Court issued its ruling to reverse and remand the case back to Superior Court for a trial.
The remanded case is now back at DC Superior Court and will move to a trial.
Finally, a jury of DC residents will get to answer the question: Does a public easement exist at 18th and Columbia Road (the critical question that could have been answered in 2017 if Suntrust did not seek to move the case to DC Federal Court).