Nathaniel Williams, Individually and as Administrator of the Estate of Na'Taun Montrell Williams, Plaintiff-Appellant,
Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, Defendant-Appellee.
from the Court (Ct. of Cl. No. 2016-00125JD) of Claims of
& Associates, LPA, Natalie F Grubb, and Mark E. Owens,
Yost, Attorney General, and Christopher P. Conomy, for
Natalie F Grubb.
Christopher P. Conomy.
1} Plaintiff-appellant, Nathaniel Williams,
individually and as administrator of the estate of
Na'Taun Montrell Williams, appeals from a decision and
judgment entry of the Court of Claims of Ohio rendering
judgment in favor of defendant-appellee, Ohio Department of
Rehabilitation and Correction ("ODRC"). For the
following reasons, we affirm.
Facts and Procedural History
2} On February 22, 2016, Nathaniel refiled a
complaint asserting claims of wrongful death, conscious pain
prior to death, and intentional tortious conduct against
ODRC. The complaint alleged ODRC was liable for
Na'Taun's death at Ross Correctional Institution
following an altercation with another inmate on June 27,
2011. Nathaniel is Na'Taun's father and administrator
of Na'Taun's estate.
3} On October 12, 2016, the trial court granted
ODRC's motion for partial summary judgment based on
discretionary immunity on any claims based on ODRC's
alleged failure to subject inmates to a metal detector when
they entered the prison yard. Additionally, the trial court
entered judgment in favor of ODRC on any claim arising from
an alleged failure to put the prison on lockdown following a
gang fight on June 26, 2011. The remaining claims then
proceeded to a bifurcated trial before a magistrate on the
issue of liability.
4} The trial before the magistrate began on October
16, 2017. The evidence at the hearing indicated that
Na'Taun and another inmate, Carl Hall, had an altercation
in a cell on May 24, 2011 after Na'Taun was caught in
possession of alcohol and blamed Hall for tipping off the
corrections officers. That altercation turned physical;
Na'Taun forced Hall's head into a bedpost resulting
in Hall's scalp splitting open. When asked by corrections
officers how he was injured, Hall told the corrections
officers he had injured himself. Though he still maintained
that he injured himself, Hall changed his explanation of how
he injured himself when asked by Lieutenant Joey Powers, and
Powers decided to place Hall under security control in the
segregation unit, suspecting that Hall had been injured in an
altercation with another inmate. Lieutenant Powers prepared a
security control report that he sent to the deputy warden,
and he notified the supervisor of the next shift of his
reasons for placing Hall in security control.
5} After corrections officers began to suspect that
Na'Taun was involved in Hall's injury, corrections
officers placed him under security control in the segregation
unit. Lieutenant Powers spoke separately with Hall,
Na'Taun, and another inmate, Antoine Davis, multiple
times, and each time Na'Taun told Powers he had no
involvement with Hall. Hall never offered any information
about being injured by another inmate. Lieutenant Powers
reported that neither ...