Defendants ask court to dismiss them from new Kendrick Johnson lawsuit

Defendants ask court to dismiss them from new Kendrick Johnson lawsuit

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - There are new developments in the latest lawsuit involving Kendrick Johnson’s death at Lowndes High School in 2013.

In January, Kendrick Johnson’s family filed a new lawsuit against 12 defendants, and the defendants want the state court to dismiss them from that case.

Last Thursday, lawyers for Lowndes County School Superintendent Wesley Taylor and the county school district filed a “motion to dismiss.” They asked the Middle District of Georgia to drop them from the new lawsuit Kenneth and Jacquelyn Johnson filed over the death of their son.

Johnson was found dead inside a rolled-up gym mat in the high school gym.

The death was ruled accidental, but the family has consistently said they do not accept that finding.

On Monday, five other motions to dismiss were filed. That includes former Lowndes County Sheriff Chris Prine, Stryde Jones with the sheriff’s office, former Lowndes High School students Brian Bell and Branden Bell, as well as their father who is a former FBI agent, Richard Bell.

“The current suit is just a rehash of prior suits, every one of which has been dismissed. This suit has no more merit than the prior ones and is patently frivolous,” said the Bell’s family attorney, Patrick O’Connor.

WALB also reached out to the lawyers of the other defendants. Some said “no comment,” while others have yet to respond.

Kendrick Johnson was found dead in a gym mat in 2013 (Source: WALB)
Kendrick Johnson was found dead in a gym mat in 2013 (Source: WALB)

The initial filing from Taylor and the school district said the Johnsons did not give them the papers in a proper and timely manner. They also said the statute of limitations had run out on the case. They said the federal court has no jurisdiction in this case because the Johnsons failed to pay court costs for a previous lawsuit in state court.

Under Georgia law, they cannot file a new lawsuit until they pay off the previous case's costs, according to the documents.

The other defendants made the same accusation in their documents.

The Johnsons filed several lawsuits against dozens of defendants throughout the years but have not won any of them.

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