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Security contractor denied any involvement in plaintiff’s firing






Cuyahoga County


Cuyahoga County, Court of Common Pleas

Injury Type(s):

mental/psychological-anxiety; mental/psychological-depression; mental/psychological-emotional distress

Case Type:

Worker/Workplace Negligence – Negligent SupervisionIntentional Torts – Tortious Interference with a Contract

Case Name:

Clair A. Bigelow, Jr. v. Universal Protection Service, LLC d/b/a Allied Universal Security Services, LLC,
No. CV-17-880588


June 15, 2018



Clair A. Bigelow, Jr. (Male, 45 Years)

Plaintiff Attorney(s):

Michael T. Conway;
Michael T. Conway & Company;
Clair A. Bigelow, Jr.


Universal Protection Service, LLC

Defense Attorney(s):

Brad J. Barmen;
Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP;
Universal Protection Service, LLC ■ Tera A. Sherman;
Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP;
Universal Protection Service, LLC


In July 2015, plaintiff Clair A. Bigelow, 45, a professional security officer, was terminated from his job as a police officer with the Cleveland Clinic Foundation Police Department, for which he had worked since July 2005. The termination stemmed from an incident on May 24, 2015, involving an altercation with a patient. Bigelow maintained that his termination was the result of tortious interference with his employment contract. Bigelow sued Universal Protection Service, LLC doing business as Allied Universal Security Services, LLC, a private security contractor headquartered in Orange County, California. Universal Protection was doing business in Cuyahoga County and supplied the Cleveland Clinic Foundation Marymount Hospital in Garfield Heights with security guards supervised by Bigelow. Bigelow alleged that Universal Protection’s security officers provided false internal affairs CCF police reports to CCF Human Resources officers and supervisors and that these reports contained false assertions that he had violated his duties as a police officer. He claimed the purpose of these false reports was to preserve Universal Protection’s contract with CCF at the expense of his at-will employment. He argued that Universal Protection and its employees tortiously interfered with his employment contract and the employees were negligently supervised. Bigelow was an at-will employee of CCF, with all the same police powers and duties as municipal government police officers. He was authorized to deter the unlawful conduct of CCF patients and visitors. On May 24, 2015, at 5:30 p.m., Bigelow was on duty at the Marymount Hospital Behavioral Health Center when a mental health patient became belligerent and allegedly physically threatened the hospital staff. Bigelow, along with at least three other security officers and other people present, were called by medical staff to restrain and remove the patient from a common “day room” area to a secluded treatment room. Reportedly, the patient had tried to hit the security officers and was “thrashing about” with her hands and legs, trying to strike people. She was also allegedly seeking to use a telephone receiver as a weapon. This event followed an incident earlier on the same day where the same patient allegedly attacked Bigelow and injured him while he was trying to prevent the patient from injuring herself and others. During that altercation, the patient allegedly kicked, slapped and spit on Bigelow. The patient was restrained by at least four CCF staff, including Universal Protection security guards and Bigelow. The patient was ultimately sedated and security was withdrawn. Bigelow filled out a police report for CCF on May 24, 2015, explaining that his police officer duties were interfered with by CCF staff during the altercation with the patient. Bigelow claimed his position on all issues was backed up by Universal Protection security guards. However, he was later terminated from his employment at CCF after writing this report. As grounds for his termination, a CCF supervisor accused Bigelow of making up lies in his police report about the mental health patient and claimed Bigelow encouraged Universal Protection employees to create false police reports to back up his claims about interference. Bigelow argued there was no evidence that he lied in any police report. He also asserted there was no evidence that he had harmed the mental health patient, used excessive force against the patient, violated his oath as a police officer or violated any CCF workplace/employee conduct policy. Further, Bigelow argued there was no evidence that he coerced Universal Protection employees into making false police reports. Bigelow claimed two of Universal Protection’s employees later changed their stores to say that he had acted inappropriately in his dealings with the mental health patient after CCF asked them to cooperate in an investigation against him. Bigelow alleged that Universal Protection’s employees had a duty to tell CCF the truth about him in any investigation into his conduct and that those employees intentionally breached their duty. He also claimed their false stories were used as evidence by CCF to justify his termination of employment. Universal Protection contended that Bigelow was an at-will employee hired and ultimately fired by a nonparty for egregious conduct and that Universal Protection had nothing to do with his employment contract. Further, Universal Protection maintained that it had no legal duty to protect Bigelow from harm and that it had a contract with CCF that created a special duty relationship to provide honest and competent security guards with all necessary training to protect Bigelow, the CCF staff and its patients. Lastly, the defense argued that Bigelow settled his claims against CCF over the same incident evidenced in this case.


Bigelow claimed the loss of his job, loss of reputation as a police officer, loss of his career, depression, anxiety and emotional distress as a result of an alleged interference with his employment contract. He earned approximately $60,000 per year as a security guard for CCF and sought compensatory damages. The defense contended that no damages were due or owing as there was no interference with Bigelow’s employment contract.


The jury rendered a defense verdict.

Trial Information:


Timothy McGinty




Less than defense costs

Trial Length:


Trial Deliberations:


Post Trial:

Judge Timothy McGinty denied plaintiff’s counsel’s motions for a new trial and judgment notwithstanding the verdict.

Editor’s Comment:

This report is based on information that was provided by defense counsel. Plaintiff’s counsel did not respond to a request for comment.