Notice was given in federal court Wednesday that action against District Attorney Valerie Asbell be dismissed in a lawsuit filed by an officer against the city of Roanoke Rapids, its police department and former chief.
The notice was based on Rule 41 of Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and was filed by the attorney representing Daniel W. Jenkins, the plaintiff in the case.
The notice says pursuant to Rule 41 of the FRCP, “Plaintiff, Daniel W. Jenkins, by and through his counsel, Anthony James Cuticchia Jr., hereby give notice that the above captioned action is voluntarily dismissed, with prejudice, against defendant Valerie Asbell.”
The notice does not go into detail.
According to the American Bar Association, “Plaintiffs often file multi-defendant lawsuits only later to decide one or more of the defendants should be dismissed — whether to protect a jurisdictional choice, to effect a settlement, or simply because discovery never bore out the claim.”
It is known, according to previous documents filed in the case, a settlement is being worked on and last month an extension for responses was granted last month in the case. “The undersigned counsel and plaintiff’s counsel have been working together diligently to resolve all claims in this matter and are very close to finalizing a settlement agreement,” the consent motion filed in the United States Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina said. “Upon information and belief due to the intervening holidays final approval of the settlement terms and execution of the necessary documents will not be completed before (Christmas).”
The deadline for responses is January 25.
Jenkins is asking for damages of $250,000 and any other relief the court deems proper either individually, jointly or in the alternative together with interest, cost of the lawsuit and reasonable attorney fees.
Jenkins claims the action is to recover damages against the defendants for civil conspiracy; intentional infliction of emotional distress; negligent infliction of emotional distress; and the violation of the right of procedural due process of the United States Constitution.
The center of the lawsuit goes back to July 28 of 2018 when Jenkins was employed as a canine handler with the Roanoke Rapids Police Department and was called to the scene where a person was stopped for a tail light violation. The driver had a pistol which was within his immediate reach.
Jenkins was called to the scene when the driver asked for a supervisor and, according to the lawsuit, both he and the responding officer who made the traffic stop, after several times of demanding the person exit the vehicle, attempted to remove the individual.
The lawsuit claims after several attempts by the officers a decision was made to deploy the dog, which bit the driver’s ear causing minor injury.
The lawsuit says the next day former Roanoke Rapids Police Chief Chuck Hasty had an officer review the matter for excessive use of force. That officer’s opinion was that Jenkins’ actions showed no wrongdoing.
The lawsuit claims Hasty chose to ignore the finding and complete a second review.