Former Summerfield Town Councilmember Todd Rotruck has lost his appeal to regain a seat on the Town Council that he was removed from one and half years ago.
On Tuesday, Sept. 3, the NC Court of Appeals ruled to uphold a lower court decision by Guilford County Superior Court Judge Joe Craig, which upheld an April 2018 Guilford County Board of Elections decision that Rotruck wasn’t a resident of Summerfield at the time he took and held office.
In the new ruling, the appeals court states that any trial court reviewing a Board of Elections decision must conclude that the decision was “based upon substantial evidence… such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.”
The Court of Appeals determined that that standard was met in Rotruck’s case.
Rotruck argued in his appeal, among other things, that the Board of Elections didn’t base its decision on the evidence presented and didn’t allow some evidence to be introduced.
He lost his first appeal in Guilford County Superior Court last year and took the matter to the state court of appeals, which finally heard the case last month.
The appellate court found that the lower court had “conducted a whole record review of the evidence, findings and conclusions of the Board of Elections,” and it determined that the findings and conclusions of the BOE were supported by “competent, material and substantial evidence.”
The court also stated that, at the Board of Elections 2017 hearing on the matter, Summerfield citizen Janelle Robinson introduced evidence and testimony tending to show that Rotruck’s residence was in Greensboro, not Summerfield. Rotruck made his arguments to the contrary at that hearing.
The new ruling states that, “Although Plaintiff introduced documentary evidence and testimony of his own tending to show that Plaintiff’s residence was the Summerfield property, the trial court did not err in concluding that, in light of the whole record, the BOE was presented with relevant evidence adequate to support its ultimate conclusion that Plaintiff did not reside in Summerfield.”