DAVID M. HOPPER, Special Administrator of the Estate of Robert Andrew Richardson, Sr., v. PHIL PLUMMER, Montgomery County Sheriff; TED JACKSON, Sergeant; BRIAN LEWIS, Sergeant; DUSTIN JOHNSON, Corrections Officer; MATHEW HENNING, Corrections Officer; MICH - Articles

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Posted by: Landry Butler on Apr 13, 2018

Court: 6th Circuit Court (Published Opinions)

Attorneys 1:

ARGUED: Keith Hansbrough, MARSHALL DENNEHEY WARNER COLEMAN & GOGGIN, P.C., Cleveland, Ohio, for Appellants. Jeremy A. Tor, SPANGENBERG, SHIBLEY & LIBER, LLP, Cleveland, Ohio, for Appellee.

Attorneys 2:

ON BRIEF: Lynnette Dinkler, Jamey T. Pregon, DINKLER PREGON LLC, Dayton, Ohio, for Appellants. Nicholas A. DiCello, SPANGENBERG, SHIBLEY & LIBER, LLP, Cleveland, Ohio, for Appellee.

Judge(s): BATCHELDER, GRIFFIN, and WHITE, Circuit Judges.

Court Appealed: Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio at Dayton.

GRIFFIN, Circuit Judge.

Robert Richardson suffered a seizure two days after he was booked into the Montgomery County Jail in Dayton, Ohio. Corrections officers and medical staff responded to the medical call. Despite both a jail policy that prohibited placing restrained inmates in a prone position and a medic’s appeal to handcuff Richardson in front, the officers handcuffed him behind his back and restrained him face down on the floor outside his cell. Richardson died after a twenty-two minute struggle during which record testimony indicates he continually stated he could not breathe.

Plaintiff David Hopper, in his capacity as Special Administrator of Richardson’s estate, brought this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action against the corrections officers and Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer. The district court denied defendants’ motion for summary judgment on qualified- and statutory-immunity grounds. They appeal that order, and raise the precedential issue of whether Richardson, a civil contemnor detainee, falls within the protections of the Eighth or the Fourteenth Amendment. Because Richardson was sanctioned outside the criminal context, we hold that the Fourteenth Amendment governs his § 1983 claims. The remaining issues either lack merit or fall outside the limited scope of our jurisdiction on interlocutory appeal. We therefore affirm in part and dismiss in part.