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Virginia ABC files motion to dismiss Johnson's lawsuit

Johnson's legal team will fight motion in courtroom, lawyer says

The Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control filed a motion Monday in federal court to have the civil case filed by fourth-year College student Martese Johnson permanently dismissed.

Johnson filed the $3 million lawsuit against ABC on Oct. 20, naming ABC, ABC director Shawn Walker and the three agents involved in his case as defendants. The seven counts in the federal lawsuit include use of excessive force, failure to train or supervise and negligence.

The motion states the case should be dismissed for failing “to state any claim against the these defendants,” reasonable suspicion and probable cause on the part of ABC officers to stop Johnson, and the sovereign immunity of the department and individual defendants.

The “alleged facts and circumstances objectively shows that reasonable suspicion and probable cause existed for, respectively, the plaintiff’s stop and arrest,” the motion reads.

The motion also states the agents themselves are “entitled to qualified and sovereign immunity,” and the director has “sovereign immunity to negligence-based claims” under the Eleventh Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Johnson’s legal team intends to fight this case in the courtroom, lawyer Daniel Watkins said in an email statement. He declined further comment.

Kayla Eanes contributed to reporting on this story.


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