Appeal from the United States District Court
for the Southern District of Ohio at Cincinnati.
No. 1:15-cv-00643—Susan J. Dlott, District Judge.
Argued: April 28, 2020
Decided and Filed: August 18, 2020
Before: SILER, MOORE, and NALBANDIAN, Circuit Judges.
KAREN NELSON MOORE, Circuit Judge. On October 5, 2013, Zachary Goldson died
in a Brown County, Ohio jail cell. Less than an hour after a correctional officer was captured on
video yelling in Goldson’s ear, “I’d like to break your fucking neck right now,” multiple
correctional officers apparently discovered Goldson hanging by his neck from a bedsheet tied to
the sprinkler escutcheon in his cell, in what the officers now characterize as a suicide. Goldson’s
sister Ashley Bard, suing the officers and Brown County, Ohio, individually and on behalf of
Goldson’s estate, disputes this account, claiming that Goldson’s hanging was staged. Bard also
brought an array of claims alleging other civil-rights and state-law violations. In assessing the
defendants’ motion for summary judgment, the district court acknowledged that there was a
genuine dispute of fact as to whether Goldson was capable of hanging himself, mainly due to the
physical layout of the cell and Goldson’s physical characteristics. Despite this, the district court
granted summary judgment to the defendants, reasoning that Bard had not adduced sufficient
evidence as to a specific theory of how Goldson died, and dismissed nearly all of Bard’s other
claims as well. For the following reasons, we REVERSE in part, AFFIRM in part, and
REMAND for trial on the use of force involved in Goldson’s death in the jail cell. Separately,
I would remand for trial on the use of force involved in removing Goldson from a sheriff’s
cruiser prior to his death.