Dare county lawsuit has been settled in the federal court after the claims of Outerbank’s property owners that the COVID-19 emergency violated their constitutional rights and prevented them from accessing their own homes.
At the beginning of March 2020, government officials all over the world shut their doors and airspaces for the non-locals, especially for visitors to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Following the same procedure, Dare county North Carolina, the Outerbanks Beach Community declared an emergency in the state and imposed travel restrictions from March 16th, 2020 to put a halt to this hazard.
The declaration prohibited visitors and non-resident property owners from entering the county for any purpose. Only the residents of Hyde, Currituck, Tyrrell, and Dare were allowed to enter Dare County. In order to enforce the legislation, checkpoints were set up at the different parts of the county, to check and verify the proof of the resident’s identities and to permit them entry.
Dare county non-constitutional restrictions
The executive declaration impacted greatly on the non-resident visitors and even homeowners when they were in dire need to get back to their businesses. For instance, lodges at the beach community of Dare County are booked way before the vacation season for Mid-March to May 2020. Visitors were unable to travel through the county and spend their vacations on their reserved lodgings.
When the restrictions were imposed, the North Carolina Real Estate Commission came into a position that non-resident visitors should be refunded for their reservations and along with the rental payments they made for the period when the County was under restricted declaration. Several complaints have been launched by the visitors for not receiving rental refunds. On the other hand, non-residential homeowners lost their expected income due to the rental refunds and canceled reservations. Moreover, beach house owners were unable to visit their properties so they can look into this matter.
Moreover, different out-of-state property owners filed lawsuits against Dare County alleging that the executive orders violated their constitutional rights as they were restricted to visit their houses. The constitution of the United States provides the rights to its citizens to engage in a common occupation, to move and travel freely, to acquire medical treatment, and to avail privileges, etc. Six Plaintiffs claimed that Dare County’s declaration violated these rights and restricted them to visit their own homes.
Dare county Lawsuit Settlement
At the beginning of June, the settlement was approved by the Dare Board of Commissioners. It stated that non-residential property owners possess the same rights as residents in medical emergencies throughout the state. However, these rights are not extended and are still restricted for natural disasters like tropical storms and Hurricanes.
Moreover, the County agreed to compensate the attorney fees for the six out-of-state homeowner plaintiffs which turned out to be $16,500.
Dare County Commissioner unanimously convinced to settle down the federal civil lawsuit after Robert L. Outten, the County Manager, and Attorney S.C. Kitchen settled for the compensation in an hour-long session on July 6.
The Dare county Lawsuit concluded alleging Dare County that the management failed to adopt the emergency ordinance that could be followed by all US citizens without violating the constitutional rights. Dare County declared a resolution to prevent the spread of the diseases and restrict the non-residents from traveling rather than adopting an ordinance from the Emergency Management Chapter of Dare’s Code of Ordinance.
The Dare County Commissioner had to pay the cost of $16,500 and the $400 for other connected court costs. For the Legal service account, Commissioner County had to pay an additional $3,300 to the mediator.
It is also important to note here that Dare County did not admit the obligation for settlement but the plaintiff dismissed the civil lawsuit with prejudice.
Attorney S.C. Kitchen, liable to represent the homeowners in the Dare county Lawsuit case, said that the non-resident homeowner plaintiffs did not accuse coronavirus restrictions and even didn’t ask to compensate monetary damages, they just wanted to access their property at the beach they own.
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