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Federal judge dismisses Gerald Price lawsuit against ACSO

Wil Petty jpetty@civitasmedia.com

July 23, 2014

A lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court by Ashe County Commissioner Gerald Price against Ashe County Sheriff James Williams and two of his deputies, has been dismissed.


In May 2013, Price filed a lawsuit against Williams, deputies Randy M. Lewis and Jerry D. Lewis, Watauga County Clerk of Court Diane C. Deal, arbitrator Michael Vetro and the counsel representing CitiFinancial: Joseph Thompson IV, Amanda K. Moore and Christina C. Hughart.


Price was seeking $7.5 million in damages in relation to the repossession of his motor vehicle.


In a July 22, 2014 press release from the Ashe County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO), the court determined it did not have subject matter jurisdiction over Price’s claims, therefore all claims against the ACSO were dismissed.


The press release from the ACSO stated Price’s remaining options include filing the case in North Carolina Court or appeal the decision to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals by Aug. 16.


United States District Court Judge Richard L. Voorhees signed the order of dismissal on July 17.


According to Voorhees, “Plaintiff Price’s ‘official capacity’ claims against these Sheriff Defendants amount to Price bringing suit against the Ashe County Sheriff’s Office as a whole.”


In the ruling, Voorhees also wrote, “In addition, the facts alleged fail to support a claim that the Sheriff’s Deputies (or any of the other named Defendants for that matter) were acting beyond the scope of their ordinary official duties and responsibilities such that an individual capacity claim would be cognizable.”


According to the ruling, motions by the defendants to dismiss the case were granted.


Price’s complaint was dismissed in its entirety and the objections to his most recent filing were defined as “moot,” ruled Voorhees.


“While Price contends that his constitutional rights were violated in a number of different ways, all of the purported violations Price complains of necessarily flow from the adverse state ruling,” Voorhees ruled.


The ACSO stated Williams and his deputies have received a copy of the documents from the Clerk of Federal Court in Statesville, showing Voorhees’ dismissal of the case.


Attempts to contact Price were unsuccessful.


Wil Petty can be reached at (336) 846-7164 or on Twitter @JeffersonNCPost.