Defendants in Nexus lawsuit file motion to dismiss case
Defendants listed in a lawsuit filed by Nexus Services, Inc. filed a motion to dismiss the case in a U.S. District Court.
In the document filed on Monday, July 4, attorneys for Augusta County Sheriff Donald Smith and Deputies Donald Moran and Michael Roane stated Nexus failed to present sufficient facts to indicate any entitlement to legal remedy.
In their original lawsuit, Nexus' plaintiffs, Michael Donovan and Richard Moore, claimed their First Amendment rights had been violated, using documents obtained from a FOIA request as their defense. Those documents, contained on a flash drive, were not intended to be disclosed, according to the motion.
"Their allegations in this very lawsuit show that their response to that ill-gotten information has been the very polar opposite of having been 'chilled' in any First Amendment right," the motion reads. "On the contrary, the plaintiffs have made a mockery of the judicial process and what is true First Amendment protected speech."
The motion also called out Nexus' claim that they were unfairly targeted in an investigation conducted by the Sheriff's Department.
"Law enforcement officers [...] have the duty to investigate suspected unlawful conduct and to enforce the laws," the motion reads.
Attorneys for the defendants also argued in the motion that they are, "immune from liability for monetary damages," because they are 'state actors.'
The motion also said Nexus' claims of conspiracy where unfounded.
The motion was in response to one of two lawsuits filed by Nexus in May 2016. The other suit accused employees at the Augusta County Commissioner of Revenue's office of exchanging racist emails, one involving an alleged 'Hitler emoji.'
Tuesday, Nexus responded to the sheriff's office request saying:
"As our litigation states, Nexus made disclosures to State and Federal law enforcement. We can understand why the defendants are concerned given their actions. To add insult to injury, the defendants then asked us to obstruct justice by destroying evidence of their dissemination of records. Taxpayers have a right to see all of the evidence of the conspiracy on AugustaFiles.com; evidence that the defendants seemingly would rather hide from the public. Sunlight is the best disinfectant."