Court dismisses Kendrick Johnson case

Kendrick Johnson (Fox News)
Kendrick Johnson (Fox News)
Updated: Jul. 1, 2020 at 6:21 PM CDT
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VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - On Wednesday, the United States Court for the Middle District of Georgia’s Valdosta Division dismissed the case against all of the defendants in the Kendrick Johnson case, according to court documents.

In the documents, it states that the plaintiffs, Kenneth and Jacquelyn Johnson, Kendrick’s parents, along with their attorney, failed to serve the defendants, Brian Bell, Brandon Bell, Richard “Rick” Bell, Lowndes County School District, Chris Prine, Wesley “Wes” Taylor, Stryde Jones, Stephen Wesley Owens, Lowndes County, Dr. Maryanne Gaffney-Kraft, and Rodney Bryan, with a summons and complaint within 90 days after the complaint was filed.

Kendrick was found dead inside a rolled-up gym mat at the old Lowndes High School gymnasium on January 11, 2013.

If the plaintiff fails to do so, “the court – on motion or on its own after notice to the plaintiff – must dismiss the action without prejudice against that defendant or order that service be made within a specified time,” the order states.

However, the court must extend the time for service if the plaintiff shows good cause exists for not serving papers within the time frame, according to the documents.

Good cause exists, “only when some outside factor, such as reliance on faulty service, rather than inadvertence or negligence, prevented service,” the order explains.

The action was requested on Jan. 9, but the court states that the plaintiffs waited 54 days to request that summons issue for Brian, Richard and Brandon Bell. The court says the plaintiffs also waited 81 days to request that summons issue for the remaining defendants.

The counsel for the plaintiffs gave the court reasons for not serving the documents within the specified time, however, the court determined the plaintiffs had not “demonstrated good cause for the failure to perfect service of process and that no other circumstances warrant the extension of time for service.”

The court then dismissed the plaintiff’s complaint without prejudice and denied as moot, the defendants’ motion to dismiss. Because the case was dismissed, the judgement handed down by the court states that the plaintiffs will not recover anything from the defendants in this case.

Below is a copy of the court documents WALB News 10 received on this case.

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