Former Summerfield Town Councilmember Todd Rotruck has filed an appeal of a Guilford County Superior Court decision in an attempt to regain a seat on the town council. Rotruck lost that seat in April when the Guilford County Board of Elections ruled, in response to a residency challenge, that Rotruck did not live in Summerfield.
The board determined that Rotruck lived in Greensboro and not in a house undergoing major renovation in Summerfield. Rotruck has fought that decision in several court battles this year and lost. Now there will be a new battle in the North Carolina Court of Appeals.
Rotruck’s court filing doesn’t contain much information other than his intent to appeal; however, Rotruck said this week that the ruling against him in Guilford County Superior Court was flawed. He said the judge did not allow him time to rebut some points made by the opposing side and said the judge’s decision was based on an incorrect interpretation of the residency requirements. Rotruck said attorney Marsh Prause, with the Winston-Salem firm of Allman Spry Davis Leggett & Crumpler would continue to represent him.
A win by Rotruck might wreak major havoc since the town council has now filled that seat with new Town Councilmember Dianne Laughlin.
“They jumped the gun and put Dianne in my place before my legal options were exhausted,” Rotruck said.
Summerfield Town Councilmember Dena Barnes said she doesn’t expect the appeal to amount to anything.
“Everybody has a right to appeal but our attorney said he didn’t believe it would be overturned,” she said of Summerfield Town Attorney Bill Hill.
Everyone agrees it will take a long time for the case to be heard. Guilford County Attorney Mark Payne, who represents the Board of Elections, said this could typically be a 9- to 15-month process.
Payne said the next moves will be for Rotruck to file a brief, and then for the appellees – the Board of Elections and the Summerfield resident who initially challenged Rotruck – to file their briefs. That will be followed by “a reply brief” and perhaps oral arguments before a decision.