Martin v. Ohio Department of Rehabilitation And Correction, 011019 OHCOC, 2016-00307JD

Docket Nº:2016-00307JD
Opinion Judge:GARY PETERSON, MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Party Name:WILLIAM E. MARTIN Plaintiff v. OHIO DEPARTMENT OF REHABILITATION AND CORRECTION Defendant
Case Date:January 10, 2019
Court:Court of Claims of Ohio
 
FREE EXCERPT

2019-Ohio-505

WILLIAM E. MARTIN Plaintiff

v.

OHIO DEPARTMENT OF REHABILITATION AND CORRECTION Defendant

No. 2016-00307JD

Court of Claims of Ohio

January 10, 2019

Sent to S.C. Reporter 2/13/19

DECISION OF THE MAGISTRATE

GARY PETERSON, MAGISTRATE JUDGE

{¶1} Plaintiff was at all times relevant an inmate in the custody and control of defendant, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC), at the Allen-Oakwood Correctional Institution (AOCI). Plaintiff brings this action claiming that defendant was negligent in failing to prevent an attack upon him by another inmate. The issues of liability and damages were bifurcated, and the case proceeded to trial on the issue of liability.1

{¶2} At trial, plaintiff testified that he met an inmate named Solly while they were both incarcerated at AOCI. Plaintiff stated that they met at chapel, where Solly presented himself as a Jew. Plaintiff asserted that he subsequently discovered "inconsistencies" with Solly's story regarding his Jewish faith. Plaintiff explained that he nevertheless continued to interact with Solly at least on a weekly basis at chapel and that an ongoing disagreement commenced concerning Solly presenting himself as a Jew. Plaintiff stated that Solly, however, is a fake Jew. According to plaintiff, the dispute between the two inmates continued for approximately one year.

{¶3} Plaintiff testified that he requested protective custody due to the ongoing religious dispute. Plaintiff initially stated that he contacted the investigator for protective custody, but he later stated that he signed "papers" with the unit manager regarding protective custody. On cross-examination he claimed that he requested protective custody while speaking with the deputy warden. Plaintiff, however, did not present the court with any documentation regarding any alleged requests for protective custody.

{¶4} Plaintiff testified that Solly was aggressive and made threatening remarks directed toward him. Plaintiff claimed that Solly threatened him at chapel, which was supervised by a corrections officer, although plaintiff could not recall the name of the corrections officer. Plaintiff also testified that he informed as many as eight corrections officers regarding the religious dispute and that ultimately Solly was transferred to another dormitory at AOCI. However, plaintiff continued to interact with Solly on a weekly basis at chapel. Plaintiff added that at some point Solly began informing other inmates that plaintiff was a snitch.

{¶5} Regarding Solly's propensity for violence, plaintiff testified that about two weeks before their physical altercation, he saw Solly strike another inmate at chapel. Plaintiff asserted that this occurred in the presence of the warden, although plaintiff claimed that no conduct report was ever issued. Plaintiff added that he also saw Solly steal coffee from his cellmate and that Solly shared the stolen coffee with him.

{¶6} Plaintiff testified that on April 30, 2015, he went to the equipment room at AOCI to speak with Solly. Plaintiff acknowledged that he did not intend to obtain sports equipment, that he had no official business being in the recreation room, and that he might have been considered out of place for being there. Plaintiff explained that he wished to "put a damper on Solly's attitude. Plaintiff believed that by confronting Solly, he would be able to deescalate the situation. Plaintiff stated that Solly was by the window when he entered the recreation room and that the two of them began arguing. Initially, plaintiff claimed that Solly put his "hands on" plaintiff, but he later clarified that plaintiff put his hand on Solly's chest, escalating the altercation from verbal to physical. Plaintiff believed that by putting his hand on Solly's chest, he could calm him down. Plaintiff asserted that Solly responded by striking him, that he knocked Solly down, that Solly picked up a golf club, and that Solly struck him multiple times with the golf club. Plaintiff testified that this was the first...

To continue reading

FREE SIGN UP