Judge rules that the Ratcliffe Foundation cannot sue the city over the Robert E. Lee statue

A partial view of a bronze statue of a man on a horse. The horse's face is viewed from below, as is the man's face and torso.

The Trevilian Station Battlefield Foundation will be going it alone in the legal battle to protect a statue of Robert E. Lee formerly displayed in Charlottesville’s Market Street Park.

Its partner in the legal action, the Ratcliffe Foundation, was eliminated from the case by a judge last week.

The Ratcliffe Foundation appeared before the court in April to address the fact that the Ratcliffe Foundation that exists today is a new legal entity. The motion before the court was to allow the “new” Ratcliffe to substitute for the “original” Ratcliffe.

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The reason there is a ”new” Ratcliffe looking to enter the case is because the foundation’s corporate status with the state expired in 2015. Foundations are required by law to re-submit incorporation paperwork periodically to remain registered with the state. It was an administrative error, Fred Harman, a Tazewell attorney and Ratcliffe board member, testified during the April hearing. But it meant that the group technically did not exist as a legal entity when it sued the city in 2021, the city’s lawyers argued.

The next hearing in the case, a status hearing, is scheduled for June 27. No new trial date has been set.

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