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Manigault v. Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction

Court of Claims of Ohio

November 28, 2017

KHRISTAN MANIGAULT Plaintiff
v.
OHIO DEPARTMENT OF REHABILITATION AND CORRECTION Defendant

          Sent to S.C. Reporter 12/20/17

          Robert Van Schoyck Magistrate

          DECISION

          PATRICK M. MCGRATH JUDGE

         {¶1} Before the court are (1) written objections filed on September 28, 2017 by plaintiff Khristan Manigault to Magistrate Robert Van Schoyck's decision of September 20, 2017, and (2) a motion by Manigault included in the written objections that asks the court "for an order to set aside the Magistrate's Decision or grant other relief that may be deemed appropriate by the Court."

         {¶2} For reasons set forth below, the court determines that Manigault's objections should be overruled, that Manigault's motion to set aside should be denied, and that the magistrate's decision, including the findings of fact and conclusions of law contained in it, should be adopted.

         I. Background

         {¶3} The court, through Magistrate Robert Van Schoyck, held a bench trial concerning Manigault's claims of invasion of privacy and assault against the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC). Manigault's claims stem from a strip search of Manigault on August 11, 2013 at Trumbull Correctional Institution (TCI) by ODRC's agents-Corrections Officer Natalie Bryant, Corrections Officer Cheri Raber, and then-Investigator Sharon Chilson. (At the time of trial, Chilson had accepted another position at TCI.)

          {¶4} Before Bryant, Raber, and Chilson performed the strip search, Chilson conducted an investigation. Based on this investigation, Chilson suspected that Manigault might attempt to convey contraband, i.e., a drug of abuse, to her boyfriend, inmate Ryan Morris, during a scheduled visit on August 11, 2013. Chilson arranged to have Manigault strip searched on August 11, 2013 before Manigault was permitted to visit Morris. During the strip search Chilson gave instructions to Manigault and she observed Manigault. During the course of the strip search Manigault disrobed and she provided her clothing to Bryant and Raber, who then searched Manigault's clothing. Bryant, Raber, and Chilson did not find any contraband on Manigault's person or clothing as a result of the strip search.

         {¶5} On September 20, 2017, the magistrate issued a 36-page decision. The magistrate found that Manigault "failed to prove her claims by a preponderance of the evidence" and he found that "at all times pertinent, Natalie Bryant, Sharon Chilson, and Cheri Raber acted within the scope of their state employment and did not act with malicious purpose, in bad faith, or in a wanton or reckless manner." (Magistrate's Decision, at 35.) The magistrate "recommended that the court issue a determination that Bryant, Chilson, and Raber are entitled to civil immunity pursuant to R.C. 9.86 and 2743.02(F) and that the courts of common pleas do not have jurisdiction over any civil actions that may be filed against them based upon the allegations in the case." (Magistrate Decision, at 35.)

         {¶6} Eight days after the magistrate issued his decision-on September 28, 2017-Manigault filed written objections, asserting:

A. The Magistrate erred when he found that "plaintiff failed to prove her claims by a preponderance of the evidence." (Decision, p. 35); and
B. The Magistrate erred when he found that Natalie Bryant, Sharon Chilson, and Cheri Raber are entitled to civil immunity. (Decision, p. 35).

         The same day that Manigault filed her objections, Manigault filed a transcript of the trial proceedings before the magistrate. ODRC later moved to strike Manigault's objections; the court denied ODRC's motion to strike.

         II. ...


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