Ashe County Sheriff James Williams and two deputies were granted an extension last week in responding to a $7.5 million federal suit filed against them by Ashe County Commissioner Gerald Price.
Charlotte Attorney Christopher Raab representing Williams and the deputies said today that a motion for an extension had been filed for and approved June 10.
Defendants Williams, Sheriff’s Sgt. Jerry D. Lewis and Sheriff’s Deputy Randy M. Lewis have until July 19, to respond to charges of violating Price’s civil rights, said Raab.
“We will have a response ready in about two weeks,” he said.
Enforcing a court order from Watauga County, Williams ordered the deputies to take possession of Price’s 2007 Toyota Oct. 26, 2012.
Price claimed in his May 30, complaint that the Toyota was taken without a valid warrant and without territorial jurisdiction in violation of his 4th, 5th and 14th amendment rights.
The suit also named as defendants Watauga County Clerk of Court Diane C. Deal, and five Watauga-based attorneys who were involved in an Oct. 16, 2012, arbitration hearing in which Price’s Toyota was awarded to the plaintiff, Citifinancial Auto, who held the loan on the car.
Deal said today she is being represented by the N.C. Attorney General’s Office. Spokesperson for the Attorney General Noelle Talley said no response to the charges had been filed, but that Deal’s counsel planned to meet the Friday filing deadline.
Price alleges in his May 30, complaint that the awarding of the car was in error, as the judgment against him was overturned on Oct. 15, 2012, by a Watauga County District Court judge 11 days before the car was repossessed.
An order from Chief District Court Judge Alexander Lyerly to set aside the arbitration award pending trial was issued Nov. 14, 2012, according to documents filed in the arbitration.
Also filed with the arbitration documents is a copy of a third-party check for $13,817.46, which Price allegedly gave to discharge the auto loan in June 2012.
According to a transcript of the arbitration hearing, Citifinancial’s attorney said that the check was returned “unable to locate account.”
Price, who is representing himself in the case, said June 19, that all eight defendants in the suit had been served and had three weeks to respond.
An attempt to contact Price was unsuccessful.