Update: Martese Johnson's Federal Civil Lawsuit On Hold
Martese Johnson's $3 million lawsuit for a bloody arrest outside a Charlottesville bar in March 2015 is now on hold.
ROANOKE, Va. (WVIR) - Martese Johnson's $3 million lawsuit for a bloody arrest outside a Charlottesville bar in March 2015 is now on hold.
Lawyers on both sides went before a federal judge in Roanoke Wednesday afternoon to argue if the whole case should be thrown out.
Johnson, a student at the University of Virginia, is suing the state’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC), ABC Director Shawn P. Walker, and the agents - John S. Cielakie, Jared B. Miller, and Thomas S. Custer - involved in his arrest outside Trinity Irish Pub.
Johnson’s seven-count lawsuit claims his civil rights were abused, labeling the late night encounter with ABC agents as assault (Count VI) and battery (Count VII). The counts also include false arrest (Count I), excessive force (Count II), failure to train or supervise (Count III), negligence (Count IV), and negligent supervision and training (Count V).
Wednesday, the defendants asked Judge Glen Conrad to stop the discovery process pending the outcome of a motion to dismiss the case. Discovery is where both sides have access to evidence in a case. The judge ruled in their favor.
Judge Conrad also said he would likely cut two counts – Count III and V - from Johnson's lawsuit. The plaintiff’s legal team now has 10 days to amend some claims in the civil lawsuit.
"It's a process, but I think it's a necessary process. And it's going well so far," Johnson said.
"It's not uncommon, and we feel very strongly about Mr. Johnson's merits and Mr. Johnson's case and we're optimistic going forward,” said Ben Chew, Johnson’s attorney.
The judge is also considering severing Cielakie from the lawsuit because he wasn't directly involved in the arrest.
A five-day jury trial is scheduled to start October 3 at the federal courthouse in Charlottesville, though that date may be pushed back.