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Brandon D. Smith v. London Ohio Correctional Institution

July 21, 2011

BRANDON D. SMITH, PLAINTIFF,
v.
LONDON OHIO CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION, DEFENDANT,



Cite as Smith v. London Ohio Corr. Inst.,

The Ohio Judicial Center 65 South Front Street, Third Floor Columbus, OH 43215 614.387.9800 or 1.800.824.8263 www.cco.state.oh.us

Acting Clerk Daniel R. Borchert

MEMORANDUM DECISION

FINDINGS OF FACT

{¶1} Plaintiff, Brandon Smith, an inmate who is incarcerated at defendant, London Correctional Institution (LoCI), filed this action alleging that his television set was broken by other inmates Plaintiff stated that on January 31, 2011, two unidentified inmates were fighting and during the melee his television set was broken. Plaintiff seeks damage recovery in the amount of $176.50, the stated replacement value of a digital television set. Payment of the filing fee was waived.

{¶2} Defendant denied liability in this matter contending that defendant is not responsible for the broken television unless plaintiff can demonstrate that defendant acted negligently "in relation to the inmate altercation." Defendant contended that plaintiff failed to establish any negligence on the part of defendant.

{¶3} Plaintiff did not file a response.

CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

{¶4} Although not strictly responsible for a prisoner's property, defendant had at least the duty of using the same degree of care as it would use with its own property. Henderson v. Southern Ohio Correctional Facility (1979), 76-0356-AD.

{¶5} This court in Mullett v. Department of Correction (1976), 76-0292-AD, held that defendant does not have the liability of an insurer (i.e., is not liable without fault) with respect to inmate property, but that it does have the duty to make "reasonable attempts to protect, or recover" such property.

{¶6} Plaintiff has the burden of proving, by a preponderance of the evidence, that he suffered a loss and that this loss was proximately caused by defendant's negligence. Barnum v. Ohio State University (1977), 76-0368-AD.

{¶7} Plaintiff must produce evidence which affords a reasonable basis for the conclusion that defendant's conduct is more likely than not a substantial factor in bringing about the harm. Parks v. Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (1985), 85-01546-AD.

{¶8} Defendant is not responsible for actions of other inmates unless an agency relationship is shown or it is shown that defendant was negligent. Walker v. Southern Ohio Correctional Facility (1978), 78-0217-AD; Melson v. Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (2003), Ct. of Cl. No. 2003-04236-AD, 2003-Ohio-3615; Jenkins v. Richland Correctional Inst., Ct. of Cl. No. 2003-01768-AD, 2003-Ohio-4483.

{¶9} In order to prevail, plaintiff must prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that defendant owned him a duty, that defendant breached that duty, and that defendant's breach proximately caused his injuries. Armstrong v. Best Buy Company, Inc., 99 Ohio St. 3d 79, 2003-Ohio-2573,¶8 citing Menifee v. Ohio ...


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