JEFFERSON — Motions have been filed to strike aspects of and drop defendants from a civil action lawsuit against members of the Ashe County Sheriff’s Office brought on by former employees of the same office, according to court documents dated between Oct. 31 and Nov. 7.
The defendants include former Ashe County Sheriff Terry Buchanan, current sheriff James Hartley, former chief deputy Richard Clayton, three former sheriff’s deputies — Michael Boyles, Dennis Anders and Marc Kitts — and the county’s insurance company, Employers Mutual Casualty Company, who are being sued by three former jailers at the Ashe County Detention Center: Michelle Sanchez, Casey Caudill, Katie Richards and her 4-year-old daughter.
According to the complaint document, the plaintiffs are seeking compensatory and punitive damages regarding two civil actions for deprivation of rights laws (42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1988), as well as the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution, “and other statutory and common law for the negligent, grossly negligent, reckless, corrupt, malicious, unconstitutional, willful and wanton conduct.”
On behalf of Hartley, Anders, Kitts and Employers Mutual, the defendants’ legal representatives have filed “moves for an order dismissing all claims brought against (them) by plaintiffs,” on the grounds that the plaintiffs “fail to state a claim upon which relief can be granted,” according to court documents.
Additionally, the defendants recently filed motions to strike aspects of the plaintiff’s complaints, including all mentions of Richards’ 4-year-old daughter, “because no guardian ad litem has been appointed and no adult purports to bring claims on her behalf, and therefore the minor … lacks capacity to sue,” according to court documents.
Furthermore, “throughout their complaint, plaintiffs inject immaterial, impertinent, and scandalous editorial commentary into their allegations against the defendants,” the defendants’ motions to strike said. “It is apparent that these passages have been placed in the complaint for sensationalistic or inflammatory effect.”
The defendants also said “plaintiffs reference unrelated criminal investigations and proceedings,” as grounds to strike aspects of the complaint, and that the plaintiffs “directly or indirectly quote various third parties, including local news reporters and an unnamed ‘expert,’” improperly suggesting “that these individuals’ opinions are relevant to this dispute, which they are not.”
The latest deadline to hear a response from the court accepting or denying the defendants’ motions is Nov. 21, plus three days if the motions were filed by mail, according to the court docket.
Ashe Post & Times will continue to provide updates on this case as developments are made.