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Inmate lawsuit survives Twiqbal motions

U.S. District Judge Glen Conrad has denied motions to dismiss excessive force and conspiracy claims filed by a former jail inmate who claims he was injured by guards at the Roanoke jail.

Relying on the touchstone cases of Twombly and Iqbal , Roanoke Sheriff Octavia Johnson argued DaVon Bell’s complaint about a pervasive pattern of excessive force was implausible.  Conrad disagreed in an opinion last week, finding allegations that the sheriff refused to act after prior instances of excessive force were sufficient to survive the motion to dismiss.

Conrad took under advisement a motion to dismiss a conspiracy count.  Although the complaint lacked details about any actual agreement among the defendants to harm the plaintiff, Conrad found the plaintiff’s claim was bolstered by an allegation that the defendants altered a videotape to cover up their actions.

Bell is represented by Roanoke lawyer John Fishwick.  Carlene Booth Johnson of Dillwyn represents the sheriff, with Roanoke’s Kevin Barnard appearing for a co-defendant deputy.


Judge Conrad this month also allowed an excessive force claim to survive a Twiqbal motion to dismiss in a separate case involving a Frederick County deputy.

In Dunn v. Vanmeter , a Middletown man, filing pro se , claims he was roughed up when the deputy arrested him, causing pinched nerves and broken ribs.  Conrad found those allegations sufficient to let the case go forward, even though the plaintiff was convicted of resisting arrest.

Additional details are provided by the Northern Virginia Daily .

By Peter Vieth

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