Settlement conference scheduled for Martese Johnson’s suit against Virginia ABC agents

A two-week jury trial is still set for this October


Johnson filed a suit against Virginia's Alcoholic Beverage Control in March 2015 for assault, battery and negligent supervision.

John Pappas | Cavalier Daily

A lawsuit filed in October 2015 by University alumnus Martese Johnson — who was beaten and arrested by agents of Virginia’s Alcoholic Beverage Control in March 2015 — may be moving towards a settlement, according to court documents filed recently. A settlement conference has been scheduled for July, where the parties are ordered by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia to meet for “conducting discussions, in good faith, towards a compromise resolution of this case.”

Despite the settlement conference, a two-week jury trial is still scheduled for October.

Before the hearing, both parties will be required to submit a brief statement or memorandum describing the legal and factual basis for their legal strategy. The filing by the court says this process is designed to ensure “opposing side may have a complete understanding of each side’s position.”

Johnson — then 20 years old, a third-year College student and a vice chair of the Honor Committee — was arrested by ABC agents March 18, 2015, after being turned away from Trinity Irish Pub. The agents threw Johnson to the ground and bloodied his face in the process. Videos of the incident went viral, attracting widespread criticism of the agents’ actions.

The original charges against Johnson included public intoxication and obstruction of justice, but they were dropped in June 2015 by then-Charlottesville Commonwealth’s Attorney Dave Chapman. Later that year, Johnson filed a suit against the three officers, ABC and its law enforcement director.

related stories