KJ family, attorney ordered to pay lawyers’ fees

| August 18, 2016
Source: Family Photo

Source: Family Photo

VALDOSTA – The parents of Kendrick Johnson and their attorney will have to pay attorneys’ fees associated with lawsuits the family filed accusing multiple individuals of causing Johnson’s death, according to documents filed with the Superior Court of Lowndes County on Thursday.

Judge Richard Porter said he spent “considerable time” reviewing the case.

“I have concluded that the motions should be granted and that some amount would be awarded in each motion,” Porter stated in an email filed with the court.

A hearing to determine how much Kenneth and Jackie Johnson and their lawyer, Chevene King, will be required to pay will begin Monday, August 22 and is expected to last the entire week. The Johnsons cannot appeal the decision until an amount is determined and a final order is entered.

The Johnsons have called for protesters to gather at the courthouse before the start of Monday’s hearing, according to a Facebook post made by Jackie Johnson which characterized the hearings as a “miscarriage of justice” and “an attempt to forever silence (Kendrick Johnson’s) parents.”

The body of Kendrick Johnson was found upside down in a vertically-stored gym mat at Lowndes High School in January 2013. A state autopsy ruled the 17-year-old’s death accidental. The Johnson family insists their son died of foul play.

The Johnsons filed a $100 million civil suit in January 2015, which alleged local FBI agent Rick Bell, his two sons and 35 state and local officials either directly caused or covered up the cause of their son’s death.

The family then voluntarily dropped the suit in March, prompting the former defendants in the suit to file motions to recoup nearly $900,000 in attorneys’ fees. The Johnsons have until September 1 to refile the $100 million dollar suit, but will likely be ordered to pay attorneys’ fees before refiling.

The deadline to refile two additional suits the Johnsons filed against the Lowndes County Schools passed in May.

Lowndes County Schools has issued the following statement regarding the awarding of attorneys’ fees:

“The Lowndes County School System defendants are pleased with today’s ruling in the Superior Court of Lowndes County granting their motion for attorneys’ fees in the three cases filed by the Johnsons against them. Any further comment will be reserved pending the outcome of the hearings to determine the specific amount of attorneys’ fees awarded.”

Georgia law allows for payment of attorneys’ fees in civil suits when there exists “such a complete absence of any justiciable issue of law or fact that it could not be reasonably believed that a court would accept the asserted claim, defense, or other position.”

In June, the Department of Justice ended a nearly three year investigation of Johnson’s death and determined there was insufficient evidence to support federal criminal charges.

 

Kendrick Johnson family, lawyer ordered to pay attorneys' fees
Morning News Briefs for 8-18-16
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35 Comments on "KJ family, attorney ordered to pay lawyers’ fees"

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  1. Steve says:

    Let’s hope it’s enough to recoup and correct any financial hardship this money hungry family put these 35+ people through.

  2. onthefence says:

    BLM and gofundme will pay the monies. No sweat off of these money hungry parents’ backs.

  3. WP says:

    We should have a big ol county fair and knight the people who won. Give the key to the city to Leigh Touchton, and run the Johnson’s out of town.

    • Great White Savior says:

      Sam Ellison 11 seems very angry right now. Guess he isn’t happy about today’s ruling? Maybe Queen Leigh can calm him down?

  4. Not only should they and their lawyers have to pay but do time in a prison.They,the Johnson’have no money because they will not work so the alternative is prison.

  5. Bart says:

    There’s a reason you shouldn’t file a lawsuit without being able to back up your claims, so I’m fine with the court’s ruling.

    My only issue is you using Kendrick’s picture as your headline photo and also calling them the “KJ family”. It is not this child’s fault the circus that followed his death. In fact, there are many, many to blame for that, not just his family. Could you not post a different photo? And why can’t you call them the Johnson family – “KJ family” is so unprofessional IMO.

    Kendrick’s death was tragic, and I feel like many no longer have any respect for this child who lost his life and had nothing to do with the aftermath.

  6. John says:

    People can criticize the Johnsons but I’m not sure they know any better. Meanwhile, Benjamin Crump, Michael Moore, Deborah Sines, and Steven Dettelbach get cushy jobs while taking zero responsibility.

    • Trisha says:

      I guess they could only go on what the locals collected as evidence. They still remain in Office. The school is off scott-free. Nobody is being held responsible for this kids death.

    • Eric says:

      I agree

    • Shane says:

      Great point; however regardless of whether they were swept along on a tide of ignorance or the tantalizing thought of the possibility of a big payout (remember, they originally filed a claim under the accidental death policy on Kendrick) or at the behest of unscrupulous attorneys and activists/representatives who were better informed than the Johnsons, the Johnsons signed those pleadings under penalty of perjury. They filed numerous actions in bad faith, with no evidence, causing defendants to hire attorneys and incurring vast costs. They repeatedly accused the Bells and LHS of premeditated murder, negligence and a host of other claims. This is a consequence of irresponsible speech and a failure to listen to authorities when they try to provide you with information and evidence. The others deserve their comeuppance, and perhaps they will at some point experience some professional pain arising out of this situation. But nothing they did excuses the Johnsons’ behavior, not one iota.

      • G says:

        You have good points, however, this isn’t the judgement for the defamation case. This is for attorney’s fees to defend against the lawsuit that was dropped by the Johnson’s. Georgia allows this to deter frivilous lawsuits. This was expected. The amount has not been determined.

        I find it tasteless that the school district releases a statement in victory. They should be held accountable for the boy going missing and unaccounted for.

        The defamation cases have not been ruled on. When they are I am sure it will be breaking news, again. BTW, The Johnson’s have filed another Fed,suit on the 17th.

  7. justice served says:

    Slow down folks, no money will ever change hands. They will file for bankruptcy protection, but by doing so, their race baiting attorney will not get paid either. I agree with Charles Kelley, they should spend the rest of their lives in prison, what they tried to pull off is nothing short of EXTORTION! Now….. will yall please get off of the corner in front of the courthouse so someone can do something more meaningful, like maybe a hot dog cart???

  8. JimmyJ says:

    The parents were grieving and the attorneys took advantage of their grief and filed a frivolous lawsuit and tried to get rich (100 million) off this tragic accident by accusations and rumors to squeeze the town into some type of payout. The parents are to blame as well for going along with these race hustling attorneys who tried to shake down the town. The mother of KJ stated in depositions that she ran 7 Facebook accounts, several of which used post autopsy pics of her son along side Emmit Till stating that her son was “lynched”. What kind of mother does this? Sadly, the answer is a greedy one who wanted to make a living as a mother of a murder victim. And the worst part is the false accusations made against all the innocent people including the boys. One boy left school at noon when KJ was last seen at 1:30 and the other was located on the other side of school but that didn’t deter the johnsons from false accusations. These parents should publically apologize to all who they falsely accused. i won’t hold my breath.

  9. Elvis says:

    Im a black man and I felt some things didn’t add up in KJ’s death. I’ve even donated my hard earned money in hopes of finding out the truth. I still feel there is suggested evidence and unanswered questions to which at this point, “unable to connect to a specifific individual(s).” I refuse to donate anymore more money because the ghettoness I’ve witnessed and excessive travel I’ve witnessed over the last several months.

    From the onset, I had an issue with the Johnson Family suing EVERYBODY. They SHOULD HAVE sued the school for failure to protect their child, his loss of life, their endurance and left it at that.

    They should have NEVER sued the funeral home. For the record, I’m NOT a big fan of Antonio Harrington. He does a good job of presenting bodies but I do not care for the way he conducts business.

    The funeral home staff had advised the family against having a public viewing but the family wanted it anyway. RIDICULOUS! I have to assume the funeral home didn’t think it was critical information to reveal, “KJ’s organs weren’t with his body.” So, the funeral home did everything they could to satisfy the Johnson’s and make the body as presentable as possible to include using newspaper instead of saw dust. Preparing for a spectacle? Hummm.. I even spoke my indifferences to a member of the Johnson’s family in this regard. Needless to say, useless.

    I never understood suing INDIVIDUALS at the police and sheriff’s department without proving their wrongdoing. Unless the family TRULY thought the police and sheriff’s department were somehow responsible in KJ’s death and unless they thought they had evidence, they were SEVERELY taken advantage of. YOU MUST have some sort of evidence to bring forth such a charge. Their lawyers should be disbarred IF they made the suggestion “to sue” and for taking advantage of these people in their despair.

    In my opinion, without proving anything other than “KJ died at Lowndes High School” and “suing EVERYBODY within 10 ft of his body” was the beginning and end of the Johnson’s down fall.

  10. I wants delicious ice cream.

  11. Rick says:

    I agree with Micheal. Ice cream is delicious, I am about to have supper and enjoy some.

  12. Josette Chambers says:

    Reading these vile, hate-filled comments is sickening. These parents lost their son under the most horrific and questionable of circumstances. Further, they relied on the advisement of their attorneys. Ask yourselves what you would’ve done were you in their shoes. And understand that tho the judge has the discretion of ordering them to pay attorneys fees, he should ask himself the same question. Your cruelty is sub-human and you should be ashamed of yourselves. God is not pleased.

    • Steve says:

      Chances are I wouldn’t sue 35+ people. Doesn’t Christ say something about not suing your neighbor? Are you sure God is pleased with the Johnson’s?

  13. TrueJustice101 says:

    IT’S TIME TO FILE A COMPLAINT AGAINST JUDGE PORTER UNETHICAL BEHAVIOR AND HIS UNLAWFUL ACTS; NOT TO MENTION HIS MULTIPLE TIMES IN BOTH TRIALS HE WENT TO SLEEP DOING KEY TESTIMONY!

    I WILL BE FILING A COMPLAINT WITH THE JUDICIAL QUALIFICATIONS COMMISSION FOR THE STATE OF GEORGIA!

    JUDGE PORTER’S BEHAVIOR DOING THIS TRIAL WAS UNETHICAL AND IS A DIRECT VIOLATION OF HIS OATH OF OFFICE!

    HE HAS PROVEN THAT HE FAVORS THE WHITE ATTORNEY’S GOING AGAINST THE JOHNSONS FAMILY! WHITE SUPREMACY AT IT’S BEST!

    NOW TELL ME IS IT FAVORITISM OR RACISM? YOU BE THE JUDGE!

    JUDGE RICHARD PORTER HAS ALSO ISSUED AN ORDER THAT THE JOHNSON CAN NOT APPEAL UNTIL THE ATTORNEY FEE’S HAVE BEEN PAID! LMAO! PORTER IS A JOKE! HE HAS KNOW AUTHORITY TO STOP ANY APPEAL, HIS ARMS DON’T REACH THAT HIGH!

    GOOD LUCK COLLECTING WHITE SUPREMACISTS LMAO!

    Title 9 – CIVIL PRACTICE
    Chapter 12 – VERDICT AND JUDGMENT
    E – 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS
    O.C.G.A. § 9-12-19
    Judgment suspended by appeal

    Where a judgment is entered and, within the time allowed for entering an appeal, an appeal is entered, the judgment shall be suspended.

    HISTORY: Orig. Code 1863, 3488; Code 1868, 3511; Code 1873, 3569; Code 1882, 3569; Civil Code 1895, 5340; Civil Code 1910, 5935; Code 1933, 110-303.

    • Steve says:

      Here I was thinking he was favoring the 35+ people and Lowndes County Taxpayers. God knows lawyers are expensive regardless of what color your skin is. I guess when you see an opportunity to point out a conspiracy of “White Supremacy” you’ll do it on a whim.

  14. Concerned Citizen says:

    Wow!! I’m appauled at some of the comments I just read. Some you that claim this is a racial thing or the parents are money hungry. I am a mother of 2 and I promise if anything happens to my children I will burn the city down to find answers. We are forgetting what’s important. A young teen lost his life and the parents don’t have a reason of why or what happen. Obviously some of you are not parents, or just maybe don’t care. If you are a parent put yourself in their shoes. It’s so easy to criticize others when we haven’t walked their walk. Its been 3 years and still no answer. I cant imagine the lack of these parents. The emotional state on their family. Its so sad that there are people in this world that are so inhuman, lack compassion, and always try to throw the race card in every situation. From the evidence all we know is that the teenage died on school property while in the care of the school. If I was the Johnson family this will be my biggest lawsuit. Don’t give up Johnson family continue to fight.

    • Steve says:

      “Burn the city down”? I’m not sure that I could bring myself to be that selfish. Especially when the evidence provided shows how personal neglect kicked off the event. Why hurt others because your hurting? I don’t think many people can see themselves being that despicable. Maybe all of these feelings are just me?

  15. justice served says:

    To “concerned citizen”
    First of all, we do know the answers to his death, it was an A C C I D E N T A L
    D E A T H!!!! It was caused by him climbing down into a rolled up mat to retrieve shoes that should have been stored in a locker. Oh wait, that’s right… he refused to buy a locker. And secondly, how can they “continue to fight”? They wont be able to find an attorney because not many attorneys that i know will work for free.

    • Great White Savior says:

      Yes attorneys don’t work for free. Did you not read the article you have posted on?

    • B says:

      Wow folks. This is insane. This family lost a SON. As a father of two, I would fight until I died to find out what happened. Have some compassion, some love, or just stop for a minute to realize HE WAS A HUMAN BEING that died on school grounds with some very sketchy circumstances. To all parents out there, what would you do? It’s times like this that I can honestly say that I am a white man from Georgia and I am ashamed of the part of the world I am from. I will say it. If he was white this would have never went down this way. Truth hurts, but not nearly as bad as what the Johnson family is STILL GOING THROUGH. KEEP FIGHTING. There are still good people that have your back. I am one. My name is Brian Bass and I am so sorry for your loss. Peace and love to all. Even if you don’t agree with me.

  16. The time for revolution, is NOW!!!

  17. Let Me Tell Ya says:

    They wouldn’t put up with this kind of nonsense in Rebecca GA. You can bet your dollar bottom womtoodle on it.

  18. AP99 says:

    What are these comments about the family trying to find out what happened to KJ? The family have been told how he died but refuse to believe it for what reasons they only truly know. They are now embarrassing their dead son, their family and the entire town for that matter. Please if you care for these people help them to grieve and move on because this is not good for anyone.

  19. You people have a problem not solved yet you a dead child in a public school . You can’t solve that you have a racist judicial system/ a lazy racist law enforcement community/ a greedy money hungry family listening to the wrong people. Just remember later when some you get older this will come back up in your life time. It wasn’t an accident you know that it’s good ole boy tactics . So enjoy your victory. You know what happens when you plant a seed of hate. That’s a shame.

  20. There is no such thing as bankruptcy protecting you from a judges order that you pay punitive fees. The family and their lawyer will have wages garnished and their property will be seized and sold.

  21. G says:

    For the lay person it’s pretty easy to allow someone else to do all the research, and work for you. Or, maybe you fear intimidation. Unfortunately,on both sides their is reporting bias.

    No civilian blogger is willing to lay out the unbiased version because both sides are using this as a political boycott, people are too sue happy,and the amount of harassment is unbelievable!

    This story is going to have to be told at a later date, but, it will be told.