Belward Farm “donor intent” lawsuit back in court September 3 (MD)

Rockville, MD — The appeals hearing in John Timothy Newell v. Johns Hopkins University, the landmark “donor intent” lawsuit challenging the university’s planned development of Belward Farm in Montgomery County, has been scheduled for Tuesday, September 3rd in Courtroom 002 of the Robert C. Murphy Courts of Appeal Building located at 361 Rowe Boulevard in Annapolis, MD.  The case will be the second case to be heard by the appeals court panel of Judges after court begins operations at 9:00 a.m.

In advance of the hearing, lead plaintiff John Timothy (“Tim”) Newell said:

“My family and I are thankful for the opportunity to bring our case before the appeals court Judges.  We believe the merits of our case will lead the Judges to rule in a way that will honor the vision my Aunt Liz had for her beloved Belward Farm. When she was still alive, time and time again she articulated her desire for the more than 100 acres to be turned into a traditional academic campus so the bucolic natural setting of the farm would remain intact.  The current plans destroy that vision.”

Tim Newell will be available for interviews after the hearing.  To schedule an interview, please email or call Jennifer Berkowitz at or (828) 687-2633.


John Timothy Newell, et al. v. Johns Hopkins University alleges John Hopkins University’s plan to turn Belward Farm into a high-density commercial development violates the charitable intent of Elizabeth Beall Banks, who donated the farm to the University in 1989 with the intent and understanding that the farm would be used for a Johns Hopkins  suburban campus in a park-like setting.

Ms. Banks’ family filed suit against the university on November 10, 2011 in Montgomery County Circuit Court. JHU’s initial attempt to have the case dismissed failed when the Court issued a lengthy decision in March 2012 mandating that discovery in the case go forward.

A later Circuit Court ruling, on October 26, 2012, gutted the restrictions on the development of the Belward Farm property. In that ruling, the presiding Judge decided that Ms. Banks’ “sale” of Belward Farm for $5 million, when it was worth as much as $50 million, constituted an arms-length real estate transaction, rather than a gift.

The family appealed in November 2012.

For Immediate Release: August 28, 2013
Contact: 828-687-2633