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Adams v. Louisville Metro Corrections Dept.

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division

March 20, 2014

TYRICE CHONTEZ ADAMS, Plaintiff,
v.
LOUISVILLE METRO CORRECTIONS DEPT. et al. Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

CHARLES R. SIMPSON, III, Senior District Judge.

Plaintiff, Tyrice Chontez Adams, filed a pro se, in forma pauperis complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This matter is before the Court for screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A and McGore v. Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d 601 (6th Cir. 1997), overruled on other grounds by Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199 (2007). For the reasons set forth below, the action will be dismissed.

I. SUMMARY OF CLAIMS

Plaintiff, who is incarcerated at Louisville Metro Department of Corrections (LMDC), names as Defendants LMDC and, in their individual and official capacities, the following LMDC employees: Edward Wasson; Lisa Upton; Nicholes Angeleini; Armon Walker; Darrell Goodlet; Ernest Kyle; Lisa Yocum; David Pucket; Steve Flener; and M. Fresch. Plaintiff states that he filed grievances about "half done food/vegetable and finding particles of left over food, hair and other objects in our trays." He alleges that he filed a grievance about another inmate "detoxing" and causing a health hazard and asked for free medical screening due to the harsh conditions he had to endure. He states that he did not receive that physical. Plaintiff further alleges that he was denied access to view legal material to prepare for trial. He asserts: "In violation of discriminating practices and policy to create in hindsight and pursecution a decision to boost custody level and inflict charges that inmate was not convicted of in order to insure unfair and oppresive standards to deprive inmate of rightful placement of custody level." Finally, Plaintiff states: "In violation of my Eight Amendment right involving security risk's with recklessness in criminal law officer: Michael Frech deliberately put my life at risk by telling all the inmates in the dorm to assault me in an effort to maintain or restore discipline[.]"

II. ANALYSIS

When a prisoner initiates a civil action seeking redress from a governmental entity, officer, or employee, the trial court must review the complaint and dismiss the action, if the court determines that it is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915A(b)(1) and (2). A claim is legally frivolous when it lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). The Court may, therefore, dismiss a claim as frivolous where it is based on an indisputably meritless legal theory or where the factual contentions are clearly baseless. Id. at 327. When determining whether a plaintiff has stated a claim upon which relief can be granted, the Court must construe the complaint in a light most favorable to Plaintiff and accept all of the factual allegations as true. Prater v. City of Burnside, Ky., 289 F.3d 417, 424 (6th Cir. 2002). While a reviewing court must liberally construe pro se pleadings, Boag v. MacDougall, 454 U.S. 364, 365 (1982) (per curiam), to avoid dismissal, a complaint must include "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007).

Claim regarding food

The Eighth Amendment's Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause places restraints on prison officials, directing that they "take reasonable measures to guarantee the safety of the inmates.'" Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 832 (1994) (quoting Hudson v. Palmer, 468 U.S. 517, 526-27 (1984)). Prison officials "must provide humane conditions of confinement; prison officials must ensure that inmates receive adequate food, clothing, shelter, and medical care." Id. However, "[n]ot every unpleasant experience a prisoner might endure while incarcerated constitutes cruel and unusual punishment within the meaning of the Eighth Amendment." Ivey v. Wilson, 832 F.2d 950, 954 (6th Cir. 1987) (per curiam). A viable Eighth Amendment claim must satisfy both an objective component and a subjective component. Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. at 834; Street v. Corr. Corp. of Am., 102 F.3d 810, 814 (6th Cir. 1996). The objective component requires that the deprivation be "sufficiently serious." Wilson v. Seiter, 501 U.S. 294, 298 (1991). An inmate must show that he was deprived of "the minimal civilized measure of life's necessities." Rhodes v. Chapman, 452 U.S. 337, 347 (1981). The subjective component requires the defendant to act with "deliberate indifference" to a prisoner's health or safety. Wilson v. Seiter, 501 U.S. at 302-03.

Courts have consistently held that isolated incidents of foreign bodies, even rodents and insects, surfacing in the food served to prisoners is not an Eighth Amendment violation. Tucker v. Rose, 955 F.Supp. 810, 815 (6th Cir. 1997) (citing Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1974)). "The fact that the [prison] food occasionally contains foreign objects..., while unpleasant, does not amount to a constitutional deprivation." LeMaire v. Maass, 12 F.3d 1444, 1456 (9th Cir. 1993) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted); Smith v. Younger, No. 985482, 1999 WL 623355, at *2 (6th Cir. Aug. 9, 1999) (affirming district court's dismissal of plaintiff's Eighth Amendment claim based on the presence of a worm in her peanut butter); Freeman v. Trudell, 497 F.Supp. 481, 482 (E.D. Mich. 1980) ("An occasional incident of a foreign object finding its way into the food, while regrettable, does not raise a question of constitutional proportion.").

Here, Plaintiff's allegations that prisoners found "half done food/vegetable and finding particles of left over food, hair and other objects in our trays" does not state a constitutional claim.

Claim for medical screening

Plaintiff states he filed a grievance about another inmate "detoxing" and causing an unspecified "health hazard" and asking for a free medical screening, which he did not receive.

The Sixth Circuit has repeatedly found Eighth Amendment claims for monetary relief precluded by 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(e) absent a showing of physical injury. See Jennings v. Weberg, No. 2:06-CV-235, 2007 WL 80875, at *3 (W.D. Mich. Jan. 8, 2007) (collecting cases). The physical injury need not be significant, but it must be more than de minimis for an Eighth Amendment claim to proceed. See Adams v. Rockafellow, 66 F.Appx. 584, 586 (6th Cir. 2003) (citing Siglar v. Hightower, 112 F.3d 191, 193 (5th Cir. 1997)). Here, Plaintiff has alleged no physical injury. Moreover, Plaintiff's claim is ...


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