Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Godfrey v. Hamilton County Juvenile Court

United States District Court, S.D. Ohio

July 18, 2019

CARL GODFREY, Plaintiff,
v.
HAMILTON COUNTY JUVENILE COURT, JOHN M. WILLIAMS, ADMINISTRATOR, et. al., Defendants.

          Dlott, J.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          Karen L. Litkovitz, United States Magistrate Judge

         I. Introduction

         Plaintiff Carl Godfrey brings this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and state law against defendants the Hamilton County, Ohio Board of Commissioners (the Board)[1]; Hamilton County Juvenile Court Administrator John M. Williams in his official and individual capacities; superintendent Dwayne R. Bowman in his official and individual capacities; correctional officer Middleson and supervisors Lonzman and Allen in their official and individual capacities; and unknown nurse employed by the Hamilton County Juvenile Detention Center (Detention Center). Plaintiff filed the complaint on September 20, 2018, and was granted leave to file an amended complaint on December 6, 2018. (See Doc. 23). Plaintiff brings claims under § 1983 for violations of his Eighth Amendment rights (First and Second Causes of Action); violations of his Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights based on breach of a duty to train, instruct, and supervise (Third Cause of Action); and violations of his Fourth Amendment rights based on excessive use offeree (Fourth Cause of Action). Plaintiff brings state law claims for assault and battery (Fifth Cause of Action); intentional infliction of emotional distress (Sixth Cause of Action); and negligence in violation of Ohio Rev. Code "2307" and § 2307.50 (Seventh Cause of Action). (Id.).

         This matter is before the Court on the following motions:

• The Commissioners' motion for judgment on the pleadings related to the original complaint (Doc. 10), plaintiffs response in opposition (Doc. 15), and the Commissioners' reply in support of their motion (Doc. 18).
• Defendant Williams' motion to dismiss the original complaint (Doc. 14) and plaintiffs opposing memorandum (Doc. 19).
• The Board's motion for judgment on the pleadings directed to the amended complaint (Doc. 26), plaintiffs opposing memorandum (Doc. 29), and the Board's reply (Doc. 32).
• Defendant Williams' motion to dismiss the first amended complaint (Doc. 28), plaintiffs opposing memorandum (Doc. 30), and Williams' reply (Doc. 33).
• Plaintiffs second motion to amend/correct the complaint (Doc. 31), and defendant Williams and the Board's opposing memoranda (Docs. 34, 35).

         II. The Amended Complaint

         Plaintiffs amended complaint makes the following allegations: Plaintiff is a resident of Hamilton County, Ohio. All defendants "are located in Hamilton County." (Doc. 23 at 1). Defendants Bowman, Lonzman, Allen, Middleson, and the unknown nurse all work for the Detention Center. "[T]he Hamilton County Board of Commissioner (Board), [sic] Judge Williams are responsible for regulating and supervising Hamilton County Ohio Juvenile Court." (Id. at 2).

         At all relevant times, plaintiff Godfrey was housed at the Detention Center. In January 2017, plaintiff and another resident got into a fight at the Detention Center. The two were face down on the floor, and as a correctional officer sat on plaintiffs back plaintiff said, "I can't breath" [sic]. (Id.). Correctional Officers Middleson and Sloan walked plaintiff to his room. Middleson was bending plaintiffs finger as they walked and broke it. Middleson and Sloan put plaintiff on his knees on the floor in front of his bed and left the room. When the nurse came to plaintiffs room a short time later, plaintiffs finger was swollen and he told her, "[M]y finger is broke, my hand is broke." (Id. at 3). The nurse walked out of the room. In July 2017, plaintiff had surgery on the finger because no corrective measures had been taken after it was broken.

         In February 2018, Godfrey and supervisor Lundsman got into an argument at the Detention Center. After Lundsman put plaintiff in a room by himself, the two started arguing again. Correctional officers Parker, Middleson, and Daniels started to restrain plaintiff. Middleson grabbed, twisted, and bent plaintiffs previously injured finger and thumb and broke his finger a second time. After plaintiff told Middleson to stop and he was on his knees on the floor, the correctional officers walked out of the room.

         III. The parties' motions for judgment on the pleadings and to dismiss plaintiffs claims

         A. The motions directed to the original complaint (Docs. 10, 14)

         The Commissioners sought judgment on the pleadings on the original complaint on October 24, 2018. (Doc. 10). Defendant Williams filed a motion to dismiss the original complaint. (Doc. 14). Plaintiff subsequently filed the amended complaint. (Doc. 23). The Board filed a second motion for judgment on the pleadings (Doc. 26) and defendant Williams filed a motion to dismiss the amended complaint (Doc. 28). As the amended complaint supersedes the original complaint and is the operative complaint, Calhoun v. Bergh, 769 F.3d 409, 410 (6th Cir. 2014), the Court will address the parties' motions directed to the amended complaint. (Docs. 26, 28). Therefore, the Commissioners' first motion for judgment on the pleading (Doc. 10) and Williams' motion to dismiss the original complaint (Doc. 14) should be denied as moot.

         B. The motions directed to the amended complaint (Docs. 26, 28)

         1. Standard of review

         In ruling on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the Court must accept all factual allegations as true and make reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party. Keys v. Humana, Inc., 684 F.3d 605, 608 (6th Cir. 2012) (citing Harbin-Bey v. Rutter, 420 F.3d 571, 575 (6th Cir. 2005)). Only "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief is required. Id. (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)). "[T]he statement need only give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'" Id. (quoting Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (internal quotation marks omitted) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). Although the plaintiff need not plead specific facts, the "[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level" and to "state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 570). A claim is plausible on its face "when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). "[A] plaintiffs obligation to provide the grounds of his entitle[ment] to relief requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (internal quotation marks omitted). The Court need not accept as true the plaintiffs legal conclusions. See Gean v. Hattaway, 330 F.3d 758, 765 (6th Cir. 2003).

         Courts apply the same analysis to motions for judgment on the pleadings under Rule 12(c) as they apply to motions to dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). See Warrior Sports, Inc. v, Nat'l Collegiate Athletic Ass 'n, 623 F.3d 281, 284 (6th Cir. 2010). "For purposes of a motion for judgment on the pleadings, all well-pleaded material allegations of the pleadings of the opposing party must be taken as true, and the motion may be granted only if the moving party is nevertheless clearly entitled to judgment." JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. v. Winget, 510 F.3d 577, 582 (6th Cir. 2007) (internal citation and quotation marks omitted)). However, the Court need not accept as true legal conclusions or unwarranted factual inferences. Id. (citing Mixon v. Ohio, 193 F.3d 389, 400 (6th Cir. 1999)).

         2. Plaintiffs § 1983 claim against the Board should be dismissed.

         The Board moves to dismiss the § 1983 claim against it on the ground the Board cannot be held liable for the incidents alleged in the complaint based on the acts or omissions of the Hamilton County Juvenile Court or the Detention Center. (Doc. 26). The Board argues that it has no responsibility for the hiring and training of Detention Center employees, and it has no say in how the Detention Center is operated. The Board alleges that under Ohio statutory law, only the ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.