Woodbridge v. Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, 121718 OHCOC, 2017-00453JD

Docket Nº:2017-00453JD
Opinion Judge:GARY PETERSON, MAGISTRATE
Party Name:HARRY WOODBRIDGE Plaintiff v. OHIO DEPARTMENT OF REHABILITATION AND CORRECTION Defendant
Case Date:December 17, 2018
Court:Court of Claims of Ohio
 
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2018-Ohio-5451

HARRY WOODBRIDGE Plaintiff

v.

OHIO DEPARTMENT OF REHABILITATION AND CORRECTION Defendant

No. 2017-00453JD

Court of Claims of Ohio

December 17, 2018

Sent to S.C. Reporter 1/14/19

DECISION OF THE MAGISTRATE

GARY PETERSON, MAGISTRATE

{¶1} Plaintiff is an inmate in the custody and control of defendant, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC), at the Marion Correctional Institution (MCI). Plaintiff brings this action claiming that ODRC violated Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. 12131 et seq., by failing to accommodate his disability, resulting in his injury. The complaint also asserts that ODRC was negligent by not providing plaintiff with the necessary bathroom accommodations. The issues of liability and damages were bifurcated and the case proceeded to trial on the issue of liability.

{¶2} At trial, plaintiff, who was born in June of 1945, testified that he previously had surgery on his neck and shoulder that resulted in half his neck being removed, although that surgery was performed prior to 2008. Plaintiff maintained that he no longer has proper muscle control at his shoulder and cannot fully raise his right arm. Plaintiff added that he suffers from varicose veins and osteoarthritis in his right knee, right hip, and his knuckles. Plaintiff also suffers from hyperthyroidism. While plaintiff currently walks with the aid of a rolling walker, at the time of his fall that gives rise to this lawsuit, he ambulated with the aid of a cane.

{¶3} Regarding his assigned institutions for his incarceration, plaintiff related that upon his entry into the custody of ODRC, he was first assigned to the Ross Correctional Institution (RCI), but shortly thereafter received a medical transfer to the Toledo Correctional Institution where he was assigned to an ADA cell. Plaintiff reported that he had difficulty walking at RCI due to the size of the campus. Plaintiff stated that he subsequently received a security classification review that resulted in the lowering of his security level and was thereafter transferred to the Hocking Correctional Institution (Hocking). Plaintiff relates that Hocking closed and that he was again transferred to RCI. Plaintiff testified that the medical team at RCI requested that plaintiff be transferred out of RCI and that he was therefore transferred to MCI. Upon his arrival at MCI on October 24, 2016, plaintiff underwent a routine medical examination. Plaintiff stated that when he arrived at MCI, he was initially informed that he would be placed in dorm seven, but due to a paperwork issue, he was sent to the medical infirmary, where he stayed overnight, and eventually was assigned to dorm six.

{¶4} With respect to dorm six at MCI, plaintiff testified that the restrooms were substandard and that the dorm was very cold. Plaintiff recalled that there was water constantly on the floor and that the toilets and pipes continuously leaked. Plaintiff stated that a large fan was placed in the entryway to the restroom to dry up the water, but water nevertheless persisted on the floors. Plaintiff described the bathroom as consisting of five or more toilets and two urinal troughs. Each urinal had a pipe that extended down from the ceiling to the urinal; the pipe had a handle that could be turned to flush water into the urinal. Plaintiff stated that the pipe to the second urinal trough, the one furthest from the entryway of the restroom, was not fastened or clamped to the wall. Plaintiff added that the showers were also in the same restroom adding to the condensation in the restroom.

{¶5} After arriving at MCI, plaintiff wrote at least two kites to two different unit managers requesting that he be moved to the ADA dorm also known as dorm seven. Plaintiff testified that to his knowledge, the ADA dorm was the only dorm with bathroom facilities designed to accommodate disabled persons. Plaintiff added that he has a bottom bunk and bottom range restriction with respect to his housing assignment. After writing the kites, plaintiff learned that he was placed on the wait list for dorm seven and would need to wait for a bed to become available to move.

{¶6} Plaintiff testified that on January 4, 2017, he proceeded to the restroom in dorm six. Plaintiff recalls that an inmate was already using the urinal...

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