Congratulations to FDAR attorneys Daniel T. Downey and Melanie J. Williamson who recently won a jury trial in United States District Court in the Southern District of Ohio on behalf of two Butler County Sheriff’s Corrections Officers. Corey Williams v. Derrick Collins, et al., 1:15-cv-00337 (S.D. Ohio Aug. 17, 2017).

Plaintiff, while in the process of being released from jail on an OR bond, began arguing and acting belligerently towards corrections staff. Plaintiff’s release from jail was temporarily halted and he was placed back in a holding cell to cool down. Plaintiff returned to the holding cell and took some of his release paperwork with him. Officers attempted to retrieve this paperwork from Plaintiff. Plaintiff repeatedly defied commands from officers to return the paperwork. Instead, Plaintiff aggressively lunged at one of the officers with a closed fist. The officer used a balance displacement technique on Plaintiff in an attempt to gain his compliance. Plaintiff continued to defy the officer’s commands and continued resisting and wrestling with the officer. The Sergeant then arrived in the cell and also gave commands to Plaintiff to stop resisting. Plaintiff was warned that if he did not cease resisting the Sergeant would use her taser. Plaintiff continued to defy commands and continued wrestling with officers. As a result, the Sergeant deployed a five second drive stun taser to Plaintiff’s back.

As a result of this incident Plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the involved corrections officers. The Plaintiff, a pre-trial detainee at the time of the alleged incident, claimed that the officers violated state and federal law, including 42 U.S.C. §1983, by using excessive force against him. The Defendant Officers asserted that they acted reasonably under the circumstances and that they did not violate Plaintiff’s constitutional rights or violate state law. Plaintiff was a safety risk to both the officers and his fellow inmates. The officers acted with the appropriate amount of force in an effort to maintain the safety and security of the jail, arguably the most important duty of a corrections officer.

At the completion of trial, the jury found that no constitutional violation had occurred and sided with the Defendants, returning a unanimous defense verdict in favor of the officers. For any questions regarding this matter, feel free to contact Daniel T. Downey ddowney@fisheldowney.com or Melanie J. Williamson mwilliamson@fisheldowney.com at (614) 221-1216.