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Defendants File Motions to Dismiss in CVRJ Inmate Death Lawsuit

Posted: Updated: Oct 06, 2015 02:45 PM
ORANGE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) -

The Central Virginia Regional Jail (CVRJ), and several people who worked there, want a multi-million dollar lawsuit against them thrown out.

All of the defendants are formally asking a federal judge to dismiss the claims made by the family of Shawn Christopher Berry.

Berry's mother, Sherry Lynn Thornhill, amended her complaint in August, but still says the CVRJ and its staff deliberately did not follow protocol and care for her son.

Thornhill says Berry died less than three days after arriving at the jail on drug and fraud charges. Her lawsuit claims personnel at the CVRJ didn’t properly treat Berry, who was going through heroin and alcohol withdrawal.  The jail says those complaints are "false, and deliberately misleading."

Shawn C. Berry died on August 9, 2014.

In previous court documents, the jail says, "the Medical Examiner of Virginia concluded in an autopsy dated October 17, 2014, that Berry died accidentally from the adverse effects of heroin and ethanol."

All 11 defendants in the lawsuit filed dismissal motions that argue Thornhill "grossly distorted" what happened. They also argue they are protected by qualified immunity because they are public servants.

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