CHARLESTON - A motion to amend the complaint in a lawsuit against the West Virginia State Police alleging unlawful arrest has been denied in federal court.
Trooper Marsh, Trooper John Doe and Col. C.R. Smithers were also named as defendants in the suit.
A Memorandum Opinion and Order was filed on Sept. 25 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia at Charleston.
District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin stated in the order that he issued a scheduling order pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 16(b) and Local Rule of Civil Procedure 16.1(e) and in the scheduling order, he set a deadline of Jan. 17 for amendment of pleadings and joinder of parties.
On July 12, Price moved to amend the complaint and substitute Trooper Claude Nathan Workman as a defendant for Doe. Price indicated that the defendants first officially indentified Workman as the police officer involved in the underlying arrest in their response to interrogatories issued June 4, the order states.
Price additionally stated that Workman first officially confirmed that he was the officer in question at his deposition on June 13. However, Workman responded that Price indicated through discovery proceedings that he had known since at least April 26 that he intended to amend the complaint to include Workman as a defendant and also asserted that he could have - and potentially did - obtain the identity of Doe before the period to amend pleadings under the scheduling order had passed.
"I therefore find that Mr. Price failed to timely serve Trooper John Doe pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(m). I additionally find that judgment may not be entered against an unnamed party such as Trooper John Doe. For these reasons, Trooper John Doe is hereby dismissed from the instant action," the order states.
On July 22, 2010, William Price was driving an all-terrain vehicle and pulling a trailer along Pemberton Road in Raleigh County, according to a complaint filed July 5, 2012, in Kanawha Circuit Court and removed to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia at Charleston on Sept. 14, 2012.
Price claimed a police cruiser driven by Marsh slammed into the trailer and the cruiser then pulled alongside the ATV and without legal justification, Doe "leaned out of his passenger window and began beating Mr. Price about the head, elbow and other parts of his body with a club and/or foreign object of some sort."
During this time, Marsh did not activate the cruiser’s siren or lights, and Doe did not instruct him to pull over, according to the suit.
Price claimed the cruiser veered hard to the right, causing him to crash the ATV in a ditch. Following the crash, Price says Marsh and Doe grabbed him by his hair and began striking him.
Price claimed he was “subsequently drug across the ground, handcuffed and thrown into the backseat of the cruiser.”
After leaving the scene, either Marsh or Doe said they intended to “‘beat the hell out of him,’” the complaint states.
Price claimed after arriving at the State Police Detachment in Beckley, he was handcuffed to a bench, where Marsh continued to strike him across the face with his hand.
At no time while he was in custody did Marsh or Doe ever inform Price of his constitutional rights or why he was arrested, according to the suit.
Price claimed Marsh and Doe then took him to the Southern Regional Jail in Beaver and, following his release, he collapsed in the parking lot and has taken to the hospital.
Price claimed the defendants used excessive and unnecessary force and unlawfully arrested him.
The defendants assaulted and battered Price; caused intentional and/or negligent infliction of emotional distress; and were negligent in their supervision, hiring, training and retention of Marsh and Doe, according to the suit.
Price claimed as a result of his encounter with Marsh and Doe, he has suffered severe emotional and mental distress, humiliation, anxiety, embarrassment, depression, aggravation, annoyance an inconvenience.
Price is seeking compensatory and punitive damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. He is represented by Sean W. Cook of Meyer, Ford, Glasser and Radman.
The case has been assigned to District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin.
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia at Charleston case number: 2:12-cv-05442