The lawsuit filed by Black Network Television (BNT) against the City of Greensboro has been on a long twisty road, and now it’s taken a freakish turn.
Norman Smith of Smith, James, Rowlett and Cohen who was representing BNT not only asked that he be allowed to withdraw as the counsel for BNT in a motion filed March 25 but he also asked that two of the briefs he filed on behalf of BNT be stricken from the record.
Back in 2013 the Greensboro City Council had agreed to loan BNT $300,000 to produce a television show called Whatcha Cookin’ if BNT met certain conditions. One of the conditions was that Greensboro be given the second position on the property that BNT was putting up as collateral. When the loan to BNT came back to the City Council for a vote, the Council was informed that the city would be in the third position with its loan and that there were some other financial issues found during due diligence. As a result the City Council voted not to loan the $300,000 to BNT until the original terms set by the City Council were met.
BNT sued claiming that the Greensboro City Council did not loan BNT the $300,000 because Michael and Ramona Woods the owners of BNT are black.
The lawsuit was dismissed in federal district court, was appealed to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals where the dismissal was overruled and it was not heard by the US Supreme Court so it was sent back to North Carolina Middle District Court in Greensboro.
In the course of discovery the attorneys for Greensboro found that the presentation made by BNT to the City Council showed a national magazine with an article about Whatcha Cookin’ on the cover, however the cover of that magazine had been altered and the actual magazine being sold across the country didn’t have an article about Whatcha Cookin’ on the cover.
Now Smith the attorney for BNT has not simply asked the court to allow him to be removed as counsel for BNT but has also asked that two briefs he filed on behalf of BNT be stricken from the record.
The brief filed by Smith with the court on March 25 states, “When an attorney determines that he can no longer effectively represent a party, and when he has become convinced that certain assertions in briefs filed by him can no longer be maintained in good faith, it is his duty to seek to withdraw and to seek that briefs in question be stricken.”
One of the two briefs in question opposed Greensboro’s request for summary judgment. In layman’s terms if the judge doesn’t believe that BNT has any chance of winning its case then the judge will grant summary judgment in favor of Greensboro. It means the judge doesn’t see any need for a trial because the case is so one sided.
So in this case the city asked the judge to decide in its favor because BNT didn’t have a case and Smith the attorney for BNT filed a brief in opposition to granting summary judgment. Now Smith is telling the court that he can no longer stand behind all the statements in the brief he filed opposing summary judgment and is asking that his brief be removed from the record.
Smith also asked that a brief he filed opposing the challenge to an expert witness for BNT also be stricken from the record.