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U.Va. student sues state, ABC agents for $40M

(AP) — A University of Virginia student is seeking $40 million from the state and seven Alcoholic Beverage Control agents who arrested her believing she had illegally purchased beer when she had bought bottled water.

Elizabeth K. Daly, 21, filed the lawsuit Tuesday in Richmond Circuit Court, according to media reports. She alleges malicious prosecution, six counts of assault and battery and failure to appropriately train ABC agents.

On April 11, 2013, ABC agents confronted Daly outside a supermarket in Charlottesville. The agents believed Daly, who was then 20, was under the legal drinking age and had purchased beer.

Daly was charged with two felonies for grazing two agents with her vehicle.

Daly has said she attempted to flee in a panic because the agents weren’t in uniform, one pulled a gun and another attempted to smash a window with a flashlight.

Daly spent a night in jail on felony charges of assaulting two law enforcement officers and eluding police. Prosecutors withdrew charges against Daly in June and her record was expunged in October.

In her lawsuit, Daly said she has suffered from a tremor in her right hand, intense anxiety and other problems since the confrontation.

As a result of the incident, Daly and her parents “have incurred significant legal, medical, and other costs, and will continue to do so in the future due to the malicious, intentional” and negligent actions of the defendants, the lawsuit states.

A spokesman for Attorney General Mark Herring called the incident “incredibly unfortunate.”

“As this case proceeds, the Attorney General’s office will defend the Commonwealth’s interests and work to ensure a just and reasonable outcome,” spokesman Michael Kelly said.

The ABC said in November two agents violated department policy during Daly’s arrest. The ABC said it had taken corrective action against the agents involved but declined to be more specific, citing state policy that prohibits the release of individual personnel information and the results of disciplinary proceedings.

In her lawsuit, Daly is represented by James B. Thorsen and another lawyer from his Richmond firm.

The 46-page lawsuit offers detailed allegations, even including the food items purchased by the group of students before their encounter with ABC officers.

Daly alleges that, 10 days after her arrest, a group of ABC agents mocked her as they described their version of the events at a gathering of U.Va. students.

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