The trial of an 82-year-old Highland woman, who is facing eviction from her home of 43 years, has been moved to Howard County Circuit Court to be heard by a jury, following a motion filed by her attorney.
Attorneys in the case were told yesterday that Howard County District Court Judge Lenore Gelfman approved the motion Friday afternoon.
Columbia attorney Jo Glasco had requested the motion on behalf of her client, Lulu Moore, who is facing eviction from the tenant house on the Scheidt family farm in Highland.
The three children of the now-deceased former owners want to evict Mrs. Moore to clear the way for sale of the 120-acre property, which could enrich their family trust by as much as $5.6 million.
No trial date has yet been scheduled.
Ms. Glasco said she asked for the Circuit Court trial because the landlord/tenant section of the District Court mainly handles simple eviction disputes.
Such cases include tenants who simply refuse to vacate a property and tenants who owe money to a landlord.
But Mrs. Moore's case is a question of ownership, which should be heard by the Circuit Court, Ms. Glasco said.
"The landlord/tenant court has limited jurisdiction," she said. "Hopefully, we can get a determination by the Circuit Court of the rights to the title of the property."
Mrs. Moore contends that the house was given to her as a lifetime home by her former employers, Melvin and Prue Scheidt.
She says that the Scheidts gave her the tenant house -- rent free --while she worked as a domestic worker for the family.
But Melvin and Prue Scheidt, who died in August 1979, made no mention of Mrs. Moore in their wills.
The couple's three children contend that Mrs. Moore does not have a right to any part of the farm, noting that she was not mentioned in the will and arguing that she paid rent at least part of the time she lived on the property.
Dr. Peter Scheidt, of Highland, and his two sisters, Carol Thomas, of Highland and Sally Churan, of Albuquerque, N.M., want to develop part of the farm in 28 one-acre lots.
Money from the sale of those lots, at up to $200,000 each, would go into a family trust, according to Melvin and Prue Scheidts' wills.
The Scheidts' attorney, Eric Mitchell, of Chevy Chase, declined to comment on the case yesterday.