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Kiser v. State

United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division

August 30, 2019

STATE OF OHIO, et al., Defendants.



         Pro se Plaintiff Richard Lee Kiser, Jr. filed this action against the State of Ohio, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections (“ODRC”) Director Annette Chambers-Smith, the Lorain Correctional Institution (“LORCI”) Warden Kimberly Clipper, LORCI Unit Manager Donella Maestre, LORCI Institutional Inspector Tina Costello, LORCI Sergeant Dority, and LORCI Correctional Officer Ms. Sams. In the Complaint, Plaintiff contends Sams retaliated against him for filing grievances against her. He seeks an Order from this Court removing Sams from his housing unit, and awarding him damages in the amount of $ 2, 400, 000.00.

         Plaintiff filed a Motion to Amend his Complaint (Doc. No. 3). He attaches his proposed Amended Complaint (Doc. No. 4) which is not a true amendment but rather a supplement to the original pleading. The Motion is granted. The Court will liberally construe the pleading as a supplement and not a superceding Complaint.

         I. Background

         Plaintiff alleges that he is a prisoner held in protective custody because he was a witness for the state in an attempted murder case in Erie County, Ohio. The ODRC protective custody unit was located in the Oakwood Correctional Institution in Lima, Ohio until October 30, 2018 when it was moved to LORCI. Plaintiff alleges LORCI is primarily a reception center for new inmates entering the prison system, temporarily providing them with housing until they can be transferred to their parent institution. He contends the staff at LORCI were not properly trained to deal with long term inmates or those in protective custody.

         Plaintiff alleges Ms. Sams is the first shift officer assigned to the protective custody unit. He indicates that inmates in protective custody do not go to the dining room for meals. Instead, their meals are delivered to the unit. He alleges that on December 6, 2018, the meal was delivered to the unit, but was left outside for 20 minutes before Sams brought it in. He alleges it was delayed for another ten to fifteen minutes while Sams checked doors to make sure they were secure. Plaintiff filed grievances pertaining to the incident. He indicates his unit manager Maestre stated there had been a miscommunication. The Institutional Inspector reviewed the surveillance tape and stated that the porter who brought the meals to the unit did not ring the bell, and instead left them outside of the door. The inspector claimed the unit staff discovered them five minutes later, not twenty as stated by Plaintiff, and brought them in. The Inspector acknowledged that Sams did check doors prior to passing out meals but states the camera footage indicated only three minutes passed from the time the meals were brought in until the first tray was handed out.

         Plaintiff claims that after he filed his grievances, Sams filed a conduct report against him claiming he was refusing to perform his job duties. He contends she pointed to a rug in the sally port area and instructed him to clean it. He indicates that this was never part of his duties and she waited until he was done with his job before assigning him this responsibility. He states he plead not guilty to the infraction and requested the camera footage from the area. He alleges Sergeant Dority heard the conduct report and denied his request for camera footage. He does not provide the result of the disciplinary hearing.

         Plaintiff then filed a grievance against Sams for mixing chemicals. The Institutional Inspector reviewed the camera footage and upheld the grievance, reminding Sams of the policy regarding mixing chemicals. Plaintiff claims Sams continued to mix chemicals in violation of the policy.

         Plaintiff claims Sams retaliated against him by filing a conduct report against him for possessing contraband. He states the hearing officer found him not guilty and dismissed the charges. He responded with an other grievance against Sams for retaliation. The Institutional Inspector denied this grievance for insufficient evidence. Plaintiff filed another grievance against Sams for getting angry at another officer and throwing papers and a table in the day room. The Unit Manager stated that the camera footage did not support that this was an intentional action but that Sams would be informed how it appeared. Plaintiff filed several grievances against Sams for failing to wear a hairnet when handling food. Those grievances were granted and Sams was reminded of the hairnet policy.

         On January 29, 2019, Sams searched inmate Lister's cell and confiscated some items. Plaintiff claims Sams told Lister she would be conducting random cell searches in the unit because Plaintiff kept filing grievances against her. He states he and Lister almost got into a physical altercation over the incident. Plaintiff contends Sams was attempting to create a hostile environment for him in the protective custody unit. He indicates Maestra responded to his grievance by saying he could not grieve Lister's cell search.

         On February 4, 2019, Plaintiff placed an item in his cell door that jammed it shut while he used the restroom. Sams discovered the item in the lock and managed to dislodge it pushing open the door. Plaintiff received a conduct report for tampering with locks. He does not indicate the result of this charge. Plaintiff filed a grievance against Sams for harassing him while using the restroom. He contends his grievance was granted.

         Plaintiff does not directly indicate the legal claims he intends to assert in this action. He states several times, however, that Sams harassed him and retaliated against him. The Court liberally construes his Complaint as asserting claims under the First and Eighth Amendments.


         Standard ...

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