Ali v. Sloan
Memorandum Opinion and Order For the reasons stated in the Order, the plaintiff's complaint is dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1915A. The Court further certifies, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1915(a)(3), that an appeal from this decision could not be taken in good faith. Related document 1 . Signed by Judge Dan Aaron Polster on 6/27/2017. (K,K)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF OHIO
BRIGHAM SLOAN, WARDEN,
CASE NO. 1:17 CV 509
JUDGE DAN AARON POLSTER
MEMORANDUM OF OPINION
Pro se plaintiff Osiris Ali, a prisoner incarcerated in the Lake Erie Correctional
Institution, has filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Warden
Brigham Sloan, alleging that a prison practice concerning visitation constitutes cruel and
unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment.
Specifically, the plaintiff alleges that “[i]nmates are not allowed when called for visits to
walk directly to the visitation door and enter”; rather, they “must stop and wait at the red-line
which is 75-100 feet from the visitation area until the guard summons the inmate to advance
forward and enter for processing for visitation.” (Doc. No. 1 at 3.) According to the plaintiff,
requiring inmates to wait at the red line in this manner is a “blatant violation” of the Eighth
Amendment because there is no shelter at the red line, and inmates are required to stand at the
line “in all types of weather conditions,” including in the “extreme winter months.” This
allegedly exposes them to an “unreasonable risk of serious harm and/or deprives [them] of a
basic human need [of] protection from the natural element[s] such as rain, sleet, snow, extreme
cold, and hail.” (Id. at 4.)
On his own behalf and on “[b]ehalf of all other persons similarly situated,” the plaintiff
seeks injunctive relief prohibiting inmates from having “to stop, wait, [and] stand at the red-line
before entering the visitation entry door.” (Id. at 5.)
Standard of Review
Although pro se pleadings are liberally construed and held to less stringent standards
than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers, Boag v. MacDougall, 454 U.S. 364, 365 (1982) (per
curiam); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972), federal district courts are required,
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1915A, to review all actions in which a prisoner seeks redress from an
officer or employee of a governmental entity, and to dismiss before service any action that the
Court determines is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted,
or seeks monetary relief from defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C.
§1915A; Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470-71 (6th Cir. 2010). In order to survive a dismissal for
failure to state a claim, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to
state claim to relief that is plausible on its face. Hill, 630 F.3d at 471 (holding that the dismissal
standard articulated in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009) and Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007) governs dismissals under 28 U.S.C. §1915A).
Upon review, the Court finds that plaintiff’s complaint must be dismissed pursuant to
It is well-established that “the Constitution . . . does not mandate comfortable prisons.”
Wilson v. Seiter, 501 U.S. 294, 298 (1991). Routine discomforts of prison life do not suffice to
state a claim of cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment because such
“discomfort is ‘part of the penalty that criminal offenders pay for their offenses against
society.’” Hudson v. McMillian, 503 U.S. 1, 8-10 (1992), citing Rhodes v. Chapman, 452 U.S.
337, 347 (1981). “[O]nly those deprivations denying ‘the minimal civilized measure of life’s
necessities’ are sufficiently grave to form the basis of an Eighth Amendment violation.” Id. In
other words, the Constitution is concerned only with “deprivations of essential food, medical
care, or sanitation” or “other conditions intolerable for prison confinement.” Rhodes, 452 U.S.
at 348. See also Ivey, 832 F.2d 950, 954 (6th Cir. 1987) (“Not every unpleasant experience a
prisoner might endure while incarcerated constitutes cruel and unusual punishment within the
meaning of the Eighth Amendment.”).
The prison condition of which the plaintiff complains does not rise to the level of the
kind of extreme deprivation required to make out a constitutional conditions-of-confinement
claim. The practice the plaintiff describes indicates at the most that prisoners, potentially, will
be required to wait at a red line in outdoor weather conditions for some period before being
summoned to enter the visitation area. But the plaintiff does not allege facts suggesting that any
prisoner was ever actually forced to stand unsheltered at the red line in extreme conditions for
any unreasonable length of time, or that any prisoner ever actually suffered serious harm as a
result. He alleges he has been told that prisoners “have a choice whether or not to wait at the red
line”; they may alternatively “wait in the housing unit and periodically check if there is a line for
visitation and then go to the red-line when [they feel] it is appropriate.” (Doc. No. 1 at 4.) And
he alleges that “there is never a line.” (Id.)
While the plaintiff does not like the prison’s procedures regarding visitation and alleges
facts suggesting they are burdensome and unpleasant for inmates, the procedures do not
characterize a prison condition that can be said to be intolerable within the prison context, or
that deprives inmates of the minimal civilized measure of life’s necessities. His allegations even
liberally construed are insufficient to support a plausible Eighth Amendment claim.
Accordingly, for the reasons stated above, the plaintiff’s complaint is dismissed pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. §1915A. The Court further certifies, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1915(a)(3), that an
appeal from this decision could not be taken in good faith.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
DAN AARON POLSTER
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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