DunlapWeaver brings big win for the Republican Party of Virginia

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The law firm of DunlapWeaver brings big win for the Republican Party of Virginia. “We are certainly glad to see an end to this lawsuit and that justice has been done,” said Thomas Dunlap, one of the managing partners of the firm.

DunlapWeaver PLLC

DunlapWeaver PLLC

“We are certainly glad to see an end to this lawsuit and that justice has been done,” said Thomas Dunlap, one of the managing partners of the firm.

The law firm of DunlapWeaver recently obtained a rare dismissal with prejudice by Judge J. Michael Gamble in a lawsuit filed against its client, the Republican Party of Virginia (“RPV”), in the Campbell County Circuit Court (Virginia).

The suit, Ferguson v. Republican Party of Virginia, Inc., case no. CL14001188-00 (Campbell County Cir. Ct. Nov. 11, 2014), stemmed from a dispute arising out of the March 20, 2014 mass meeting of the Campbell County Republican Committee. At that meeting, elections for local party chair took place with the incumbent chair, Leslie Williams, being replaced by John Ferguson. Because the Ferguson campaign had encouraged non-Republicans to participate in the election, Williams timely initiated an appeal using the RPV’s quasi-judicial internal appeals process. After carefully considering the evidence, the RPV’s governing body, the State Central Committee (“SCC”), granted Williams’s appeal, declared the March 20 mass meeting null and void, and ordered a new mass meeting to take place. The SCC did so because non-Republicans had improperly participated in the mass meeting in contravention of the party’s rules.

Even though the RPV’s actions were entirely proper, Ferguson filed suit against the RPV. DunlapWeaver, on behalf of the RPV, moved to dismiss the action.

After hearing argument by the parties’ counsel for over two hours, Judge Gamble agreed with the RPV and dismissed the lawsuit with prejudice. In so doing, he found that the RPV has a constitutionally protected right to freedom of association. The judge went on to note that courts should not wade into internal political party disputes, particularly where, as here, the dispute centered on the party’s fundamental First Amendment associational right.

“We are certainly glad to see an end to this lawsuit and that justice has been done,” said Thomas Dunlap, one of the managing partners of DunlapWeaver. Cortland Putbrese, the firm’s lead trial counsel for the RPV, praised the court, stating: “It was clear the judge had carefully read the parties’ briefs, had thoroughly researched the issues, and understood that the law required a dismissal of plaintiffs’ case.”

DunlapWeaver is a mid-Atlantic law firm with offices spanning several states, including Virginia, Washington, D.C., Maryland, Delaware, Georgia, and Florida. The firm’s lawyers have repeatedly been selected for inclusion in Virginia Super Lawyers, and DunlapWeaver maintains an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. Recently, Virginia Living magazine selected DunlapWeaver as the top law firm in the Northern Virginia region.

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Thomas Dunlap
DunlapWeaver
since: 05/2010
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