Ali v. Sloan

Filing 3

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)

Download PDF
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT NORTHERN DISTRICT OF OHIO OSIRIS ALI, Plaintiff, v. BRIGHAM SLOAN, WARDEN, Defendant. ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) CASE NO. 1:17 CV 509 JUDGE DAN AARON POLSTER MEMORANDUM OF OPINION AND ORDER Background 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). Analysis Upon review, the Court finds that plaintiff’s complaint must be dismissed pursuant to -2- §1915A. 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 -3- 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. Conclusion 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. 6/27/2017 DAN AARON POLSTER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE -4-

Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.

Why Is My Information Online?