On July 16, 2010, arrestees/inmates held in Franklin County Ohio Corrections Centers filed this lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. The plaintiffs, represented by Ohio Legal Rights Service, challenged the excessive use of force by deputies at the Corrections Centers. The plaintiffs brought claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and alleged that corrections deputies routinely used tasers to inflict pain, fear, corporal punishment, and humiliation in violation of the arrestees' Fourth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights. The plaintiffs sought injunctive relief and money damages.
On December 14, 2010, the court (U.S. District Judge Edmund A. Sargus) granted plaintiffs' motion for class certification and permitted the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to intervene as a full party. 2010 WL 5173162. The court provisionally certified a class consisting of "all persons who, now or at any future time during the pendency of this litigation, are or will be placed in the custody of the Franklin County Sheriff's Department at the Franklin County Corrections Centers."
On January 25, 2011, the court permitted the intervention of the Fraternal Order of the Police, Capital City Lodge No. 9, which is the collective bargaining representative of the Franklin County Deputy Sheriffs. Shreve v. Franklin Cnty., Ohio, 2:10-cv-644, 2011 WL 250407 (S.D. Ohio 2011).
On February 4, 2011, the plaintiffs and the DOJ agreed to separate settlement agreements with the Franklin County Sheriff's Office. The terms of the agreement between the plaintiffs and the DOJ required that the Sheriff's Office provide and enforce policies prohibiting the use of tasers except in exigent circumstances when other alternatives have been exhausted. The DOJ settlement also provided details around what alternative measures are and factors to consider before resorting to the use of tasers, and prohibited the use of tasers on restrained subjects. The DOJ settlement further provided for a reporting policy in instances of use of force and medical evaluation for those that have been tasered. The DOJ settlement established standards for training and internal accountability the Sheriff's Office must meet, as well as provisions around implementation of and compliance with the agreement. The terms of the agreement between the plaintiffs and the defendants incorporated the provisions of the settlement with the DOJ, but modified the provisions around implementation and compliance.
The court approved the settlement agreement between the DOJ and the defendants the same day. On March 10, 2011, the court also approved the plaintiff's and defendant's settlement agreement and conditionally dismissed the plaintiffs' complaint subject to the defendants achieving substantial compliance with the terms of the agreement.
The plaintiffs issued an order of non-compliance with the settlement agreement to the Sheriff's Office in August 2011. The Sheriff's Office responded stating that the cited instances of non-compliance occurred prior to the settlement's effective date. The Sheriff's Office also indicated that it would have to delay implementing the training required by the settlement agreement. The plaintiffs requested mediation, though it is unclear what proceeded as a result of this request.
On September 7, 2011, the court consolidated this case with two other related cases (11-cv-261 and 11-cv-415), and with a third in March 2012 (2:12-cv-70). Litigation continued as the defendants sought to dismiss the claims of the various plaintiffs. In September 2012, the defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, which the court granted on January 2, 2013, thereby dismissing the claims of one of the outstanding plaintiffs. The plaintiff appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit on January 24, 2013, which affirmed the district court's decision on February 6, 2014. Meanwhile, four of the other plaintiffs settled in January 2013.
There is no further activity on the docket until December 2015, when the Court granted the parties motion to terminate the Court's authority to enforce the settlement agreement on the grounds that the Sheriff's Office achieved compliance with the agreement.
The case is now closed.Joe Reiter - 03/22/2011
Virginia Weeks - 11/05/2016