Attorneys for Amerson and Ward met with plaintiffs’ attorneys earlier this week to plan out the timeline and schedule for the suit’s discovery period and trial, the report stated.
In the suit, an Anniston woman claims Amerson and Ward physically and verbally assaulted her 14-year-old son while he was participating in a Calhoun County Jail program for teenagers.
Last week, a judge’s order dropped one of those five original civil rights allegations and let stand an amended complaint that the defendants’ actions and the jail program itself broke a federal juvenile justice law.
This week, attorneys for both parties have agreed upon rules for the discovery process before the civil trial, set a tentative April date for the trial and determined the trial will take five days to argue, Thursday records show.
Attempts to reach Peyton Faulk, lead attorney for Anniston resident Stacy Brown and her son, and Mallory Combest, defense attorney for Amerson and Ward, were unsuccessful Friday.
According to the court documents, the attorneys agreed this week to complete the discovery period — the pre-trial time when lawyers gather evidence to build and support their arguments — by December.
A “qualified HIPAA protective order” was also filed Thursday, which grants both sides’ attorneys access to “all information relating to the past, present, or future medical condition of any plaintiff who is a party to this action.”
Part of Brown’s suit against Amerson and Ward alleges her son — identified only as “J.B.” — suffered “extensive physical injury, including, but not limited to, bruising around his neck and ears” as a result of Amerson using manual force on him while he was shackled and handcuffed in the jail.
That encounter with the sheriff was captured on jail surveillance video and published by The Star in March, a week before Brown filed suit.
The suit also asserts that J.B. was not a suspect when he was detained at the jail. Instead, the suit claims, the 14-year-old was there for the day on Feb. 4 to voluntarily participate in the teenager program after he was suspended from school for violating an Internet policy.
The planning report filed Thursday grants attorneys for J.B. and his mother until September to amend any of their complaints or add any additional plaintiffs, and it gives Amerson and Ward until October to do so.
The final list of witnesses and exhibits for each side is due 14 days before the April trial, although a specific start date had not been set by Friday afternoon.
Star staff writer Cameron Steele: 256-235-3562.