Nudist loses court fight against Davidsonville club

Woman's cabin standoff ends with eviction order

  • Catherine Holmes, 54, shown last summer at the entrance of the Maryland Health Society, a nudist camp in Davidsonville.
Catherine Holmes, 54, shown last summer at the entrance of the… (Arthur Hirsch / Baltimore…)
January 13, 2014|By Arthur Hirsch, The Baltimore Sun

A woman who had defied an Anne Arundel County nudist club's bid to bar her from its grounds in Davidsonville has complied with a court order to move out of her leased cabin, putting an end to what she called the "nude feud."

Catherine Holmes lost her legal fight against the Maryland Health Society Inc., and was evicted from a cabin by a stream in the woods that she'd been leasing from the club since 2010.

"I have to move on, I have to get on with my life. … So it's over," said Holmes, 54, who said she moved out Saturday as two county police officers looked on. She said she wanted to do it in the nude, "but it was a little bit cold."

Holmes had been holed up in the cabin for much of the time since the summer, resisting the club's attempts to bar her from the property. She said she had been locking the place from the inside and crawling in and out through a window in an effort to keep people out.

She said she's now staying with her parents in Falls Church, Va., but is not sure where she'll go from there. She's been unemployed since June, when she worked as a legal assistant in Washington.

Paul S. Blumenthal, an Annapolis lawyer representing the club, said he was surprised the case Holmes brought against the club in Anne Arundel Circuit Court got as far as it did.

"It never had merit," he said.

In a lawsuit filed in May, Holmes contended that she was being ejected from the club in retaliation for complaining that "sexual activity was being promoted and accepted in public areas," which she said is prohibited by the club. Located on 98 wooded acres — now with 25 cabins, clubhouse, pool and bathhouse — the club was founded in 1934.

She said she never saw any sexual activity in public areas herself but based her complaint on other members' accounts. She also said that in the club's common areas she'd spotted a sexually suggestive sign, seen one member drinking from a phallic "sippy cup" and another wearing a ring on his genitals.

The club argued the dispute was not about sex but about her membership and cabin lease. About a year ago, Holmes sent a letter and emails to the board of directors saying she wanted to discuss an "exit strategy," as she had decided to sell her 46-year lease, which she had bought from another member for $10,000.

The board later responded that it would accept her request to quit and returned the $400 check she'd sent to renew her membership.

Holmes said this summer she had not meant to give up membership immediately, but wanted to talk about her plans.

After a hearing in June, a circuit judge found Holmes was not then a club member. The court had also denied Holmes' motions to stop the club from barring her from the property.

Last week, the court approved the club's motion to deny Holmes' claims and a move to evict her. She was ordered to pack up and leave Saturday.

arthur.hirsch@baltsun.com

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