Woods v. McGowan et al
ORDER APPROVING AND ADOPTING 4 RECOMMENDED DISPOSITION as this Court's findings in all respects; dismissing plaintiff's claims against defendants Chad McGowan and David White without prejudice; and dismissing his claims against the North Central Unit of the ADC with prejudice. Signed by Judge Kristine G. Baker on 12/08/2014. (rhm)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
Case No. 1:14-cv-00077-KGB-BD
CHAD MCGOWAN, et al.
The Court has received a Recommended Disposition (“Recommendation”) filed by
Magistrate Judge Beth Deere (Dkt. No. 4). After carefully reviewing the Recommendation and
timely objections (Dkt. No. 5), and upon conducting a de novo review of the record, the Court
concludes that the Recommendation should be, and hereby is, approved and adopted as this
Court’s findings in all respects.
Plaintiff Bryce Woods’s claims against defendants Chad
McGowan and David White are dismissed without prejudice. His claims against the North
Central Unit of the Arkansas Department of Correction are dismissed with prejudice.
The Court writes separately to address Mr. Woods’s objections.
First, Mr. Woods
clarifies that he intended to bring an equal protection claim against defendants because “[t]hey
are consistently treating me differently” (Dkt. No. 5). Specifically, he argues that he has or
deserves a “fundamental right to go to [general] population like everybody else” (Id.). “The
Fourteenth Amended requires that the government ‘treat similarly situated people alike,’ a
protection that applies to prison inmates.” Murphy v. Mo. Dep’t of Corr., 372 F.3d 979, 984 (8th
Cir. 2004). Because Mr. Woods does not have a fundamental right to be housed in the general
population of the prison, Brown v. Nix, 33 F.3d 951, 954 (8th Cir. 1994), he must show that he is
treated differently than a similarly situated class of inmates and that the different treatment bears
no rational relation to any legitimate penal interest. Weiler v. Purkett, 137 F.3d 1047, 1051 (8th
Cir. 1998) (en banc). Mr. Woods stated that he was segregated from the general population
because “another inmate lied on [him]” (Dkt. No. 2, at 4), but he has failed to allege facts
showing that another similarly situated inmate was treated differently or that the different
treatment bears no rational relation to any legitimate penal interest. Accordingly, based on this
information in his complaint, Mr. Woods fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.
Second, Mr. Woods claims that defendants violated ADC policy by not giving him a
polygraph examination. Even if these actions violated ADC policy, any failure to follow policy
is not actionable by itself. Gardner v. Howard, 109 F.3d 427, 430 (8th Cir. 1997).
Third, Mr. Woods argues that his treatment amounts to cruel and unusual punishment in
violation of the Eighth Amendment. “The Constitution does not mandate comfortable prisons,
but neither does it permit inhumane ones.” Brown, 33 F.3d at 955 (citing Farmer v. Brennan,
511 U.S. 825, 832 (1994)). Two conditions must be met for a prison official to violate the
Eighth Amendment: “(1) the deprivation alleged is sufficiently serious—the prison official’s act
or omission results in the denial of the minimal civilized measure of life’s necessities; and 2) the
prison official acts with ‘deliberate indifference’—he knows of and disregards an excessive risk
to inmate health and safety.” Id. With those standards in mind, Mr. Woods has not alleged an
Eighth Amendment violation.
SO ORDERED this the 8th day of December, 2014.
KRISTINE G. BAKER
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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