Judge Allowing Martese Johnson's Federal Lawsuit to Continue
The federal lawsuit over the arrest of University of Virginia student Martese Johnson is moving forward after the judge denied a motion to dismiss the civil case.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The federal lawsuit over the arrest of University of Virginia student Martese Johnson is moving forward
Judge Glen E. Conrad heard arguments from attorneys Friday afternoon, including a motion from the defendants to dismiss Johnson’s civil case. The federal judge decided to deny that motion, and allow the plaintiff's amendments to the lawsuit.
Johnson 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 in March 2015. Johnson is seeking $3 million.
The amended lawsuit claims Johnson's civil rights were abused, labeling those ABC agents' actions as assault (Count VI) and battery (Count VII). The counts also include a claim of false arrest by the agents (Count I), as well as that they used excessive force (Count II), and gross negligence (Count IV). The lawsuit says the department and its director failed to train or supervise (Count III), and singled out Walker for "negligent supervision and training"(Count V).
"Next step is that the defendants will most likely renew their motion to dismiss. We'll oppose that, and there may well be further argument. And then, hopefully, we'll proceed on to discovery where the facts of the case will be explored," said Benjamin Chew, Johnson’s attorney.
A five-day jury trial is scheduled to start October 3 at the federal courthouse in Charlottesville, though that date may be pushed back.
Martese Johnson will be graduating from the University of Virginia in May. He plans to move to New York to take a consultant job.