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Wallace v. Montgomery County

United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Western Division, Dayton

February 14, 2018

DARYL WALLACE, Plaintiff,
v.
MONTGOMERY COUNTY, OHIO And THE MONTGOMERY COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS, et al., Defendants.

          ENTRY AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT CAMPBELL'S MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS (DOC. 15) AND GRANTING IN PART THE MONTGOMERY COUNTY DEFENDANTS' PARTIAL MOTION TO DISMISS (DOC. 16) CROSS-CLAIMS

          THOMAS M. ROSE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This case is before the Court on the Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings (Doc. 15) under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c) filed by Defendant Jerrid Campbell (“Campbell”) and the Partial Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 16 at PAGEID # 84-95) Campbell's Cross-Claims under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6) filed by Defendants Montgomery County, Ohio, the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners, and Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer (collectively, the “Montgomery County Defendants”). Both the Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings and Motion to Dismiss are fully briefed and ripe for review. (See Docs. 15, 18, 19 and 16, 21, 22, respectively.) For the reasons below, the Court GRANTS Campbell's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings (Doc. 15) and GRANTS IN PART the Montgomery County Defendants' Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 16).

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Wallace's Complaint

         As alleged in the Complaint, Plaintiff Daryl Wallace (“Wallace”) was an inmate in the Montgomery County Jail. (Doc. 1 at ¶ 8.) On September 28, 2015, the hot water was not working in his cell. (Id. at ¶ 9.) Wallace twice complained to Campbell, a Montgomery County Sheriff Corrections Officer, about the lack of hot water. (Id. at ¶ 10.) Campbell allegedly refused to call maintenance to address the problem. (Id.)

         Around 11:15 a.m., Wallace became frustrated, cursed at Campbell, and called him a name. (Id. at ¶ 11.) Campbell allegedly followed Wallace and told him to stop. (Id. at ¶ 12.) After Wallace complied, Campbell allegedly shoved Wallace off his feet to the ground and repeatedly punched him while using handcuffs as makeshift brass knuckles. (Id. at ¶ 12-13.) Wallace pushed Campbell off of him, but Campbell allegedly returned to Wallace and punched him again. (Id. at ¶ 15.) Additional correctional officers arrived to the scene and Wallace was handcuffed. (Id. at ¶ 16.) Campbell led Wallace to another part of the jail and into an elevator, where Campbell allegedly pushed Wallace's head into a corner. (Id. at ¶ 18.)

         A medic later cleaned and dressed a wound to Wallace's scalp. (Id. at ¶ 19.) Wallace claims to experience regular migraines and worsened vision due to the alleged assault. (Id. at ¶ 20-21.)

         On May 24, 2017, Wallace filed the Complaint in this case, asserting claims for violation of his civil rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Campbell and the Montgomery County Defendants. Specifically, he alleged that the Defendants deprived him of his rights secured by the First, Fourth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, including his right to exercise freedom of speech without retaliation, right to be free from excessive force, his right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment, and his right to be free of governmental actions that shock the conscience. (Id. at ¶ 32.) Wallace further alleged that Montgomery County's policies, practices, and customs were a moving force behind his injuries; that it failed to properly supervise, train and discipline Campbell; and ratified Campbell's unconstitutional conduct. (Id. at ¶ 32.)

         B. Defendants' Responses to the Complaint

         On August 11, 2017, the Montgomery County Defendants filed their Answer to the Complaint, which included a Cross-Claim against Campbell. (Doc. 12.) In the Cross-Claim, the Montgomery County Defendants assert a claim for complete indemnity from Campbell in the event that a judgment is entered against them on Wallace's claims. (Doc. 12 at ¶ 64.)

         On August 27, 2017, Campbell filed an Answer to the Complaint, Answer to the Montgomery County Defendants' Cross-Claim, and Cross-Claim against the Montgomery County Defendants. (Doc. 14.) In support of his Cross-Claim, Campbell alleges that he was employed as a Montgomery County Corrections Officer from August 1, 2013 through May 23, 2017. (Id. at PAGEID # 55.) Beginning in 2015, he allegedly became aware of a hostile work environment for African American employees and racial discrimination at the Montgomery County Jail. (Id. at PAGEID # 56.) For example, Campbell alleges that female inmates were segregated on the basis of race, with African American inmates being placed in less desirable cell conditions than Caucasian inmates. (Id.) He also allegedly became aware of corrections officers using excessive force to injure inmates. (Id.)

         In October 2016, Campbell alleges that he told a reporter for the Dayton Daily News about the segregation of African American inmates in less desirable cell conditions and that African Americans working in the jail were being subjected to racial discrimination. (Id.) On November 5, 2016, the reporter published an article in the Dayton Daily News that disclosed Campbell as the source of information about alleged racial discrimination at the Montgomery County Jail. (Id.) On April 9, 2017, Campbell alleges that Defendant Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer (the “Sheriff”) put him on a three-day suspension for making public statements to the Dayton Daily News about the conditions at Montgomery County Jail. (Id.)

         In January 2017, Campbell met with a reporter for the Dayton Weekly News. (Id.) Campbell allegedly told this reporter about racial discrimination and the hostile work environment at Montgomery County Jail. (Id.) He also disclosed that an inmate was allegedly “beaten into a coma by a corrections officer and another inmate was murdered.” (Id. at PAGEID # 56-57.) Campbell claims to have told the reporter that, in his opinion, the Sheriff had covered up both matters. (Id. at PAGEID # 57.) On May 3, 2017, the Sheriff allegedly issued Campbell a ten-day suspension for making public statements about the Montgomery County Jail. (Id.) On May 23, 2017, the Sheriff terminated Campbell's employment.

         Montgomery County has not provided a legal defense for Campbell or agreed to indemnify him against any judgment in this case. Campbell alleges that the Sheriff has threatened not to provide legal representation for other officers and employees who have been sued, if the officer “would not agree to show him loyalty and conformance to the Sheriff's program and agenda.” (Doc. 14 at PAGEID # 54.) Campbell further alleges that he was denied representation in this case as a result of discrimination and in retaliation for his exercise of his constitutional, statutory, and civil rights. (Id.)

         Campbell's Cross-Claim asserts eight causes of action: (1) declaratory action for statutory indemnification for costs of defense under Ohio Revised Code § 2744.07(A)(1) against the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners, (2) declaratory action for statutory indemnification under Ohio Revised Code § 2744.07(A)(2) against the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners, (3) state-law claim for bad faith, breach of duty to defend against the Montgomery County Defendants, (4) claim for retaliation in violation of Campbell's rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution and 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Montgomery County Defendants, (5) claim for damages for race discrimination under Ohio Revised Code § 4112.02 and 4112.99 against the Montgomery County Defendants, (6) claim for damages for retaliation under Ohio Revised Code § 4112.02 and 4112.99 against the Montgomery County Defendants, (7) claim for damages for race discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. against the Montgomery County Defendants, and (8) claim for damages for race discrimination and retaliation under 42 U.S.C. § 1981 against the Montgomery County Defendants.

         C. Dismissal of ...


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