United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OF OPINION AND ORDER
SOLOMON OLIVER, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Se Plaintiff Nathaniel Ferguson filed this action under
42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the City of Cleveland, Cuyahoga
County Sheriff Clifford Pinkney, Cuyahoga County Jail Warden
Ivey, and “CPL” Clark. In the Complaint,
Plaintiff asserts he was placed in segregation in the jail
for three days for “horseplay.” He claims the
restrictive conditions of segregation were harsh, and seeks
submitted a Notice of Indigency (Doc. No. 1-2) in which he
moves the Court to declare him indigent. The Court liberally
construes this as a Motion to Proceed In Forma
Pauperis. That Motion is granted.
alleges he was placed in the segregation unit of the Cuyahoga
County Jail from August 25, 2017 to August 28, 2017 for
engaging in horseplay. He contends meals in segregation
consisted of a bologna sandwich, and a bag of carrots. He
indicates this is not a heart healthy diet.
further alleges his mail was held for the three days he was
in segregation and he was not permitted visitation with
family and friends during this time. Plaintiff asserts this
is a violation of his civil rights and seeks one million
dollars from each Defendant.
Although pro se pleadings are liberally construed,
Boag v. MacDougall, 454 U.S. 364, 365 (1982) (per
curiam); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972),
the Court is required to dismiss an in forma
pauperis action under 28 U.S.C. §1915(e) if it
fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, or
if it lacks an arguable basis in law or fact. Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319 (1989); Lawler v.
Marshall, 898 F.2d 1196 (6th Cir. 1990); Sistrunk v.
City of Strongsville, 99 F.3d 194, 197 (6th Cir. 1996).
An action has no arguable basis in law when a Defendant is
immune from suit or when a Plaintiff claims a violation of a
legal interest which clearly does not exist.
Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327. An action has no arguable
factual basis when the allegations are delusional or rise to
the level of the irrational or “wholly
incredible.” Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25,
32 (1992); Lawler, 898 F.2d at 1199.
determining whether the Plaintiff has stated a claim upon
which relief can be granted, the Court must construe the
Complaint in the light most favorable to the Plaintiff,
accept all factual allegations as true, and determine whether
the Complaint contains “enough fact to state a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). The
Plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds for relief
“requires more than labels and conclusions, and a
formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action
will not do.” Id. Although a Complaint need
not contain detailed factual allegations, its “factual
allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above
the speculative level on the assumption that all the
allegations in the Complaint are true.” Id.
The Court is “not bound to accept as true a legal
conclusion couched as a factual allegation.”
Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986). The
Supreme Court in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
677-678 (2009), further explains the
“plausibility” requirement, stating that “
a claim has facial plausibility when the Plaintiff pleads
factual content that allows the Court to draw the reasonable
inference that the Defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. Furthermore,
“the plausibility standard is not akin to a
‘probability requirement, ' but it asks for more
than a sheer possibility that a Defendant acted
unlawfully.” Id. This determination is a
“context-specific task that requires the reviewing
Court to draw on its judicial experience and common
Eighth Amendment prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment
protects prisoners from the ‘unnecessary and wanton
infliction of pain.'” Baker v. Goodrich,
649 F.3d 428, 434 (6th Cir. 2011) (quoting Whitley v.
Albers, 475 U.S. 312, 319 (1986)). Pretrial detainee
claims, though asserted under the Due Process Clause of the
Fourteenth Amendment rather than the Eighth Amendment,
City of Revere v. Mass. Gen. Hosp., 463 U.S. 239,
244 (1983), are analyzed under the same rubric as Eighth
Amendment claims brought by prisoners. See Roberts v.
City of Troy, 773 F.2d 720, 723 (6th Cir.1985) (citing
Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 545 (1979)).
Supreme Court in Wilson v. Seiter, 501 U.S. 294, 298
(1991), set forth a framework for Courts to use when deciding
whether certain conditions of confinement constitute cruel
and unusual punishment prohibited by the Eighth Amendment. A
Plaintiff must first plead facts which, if true, establish
that a sufficiently serious deprivation has occurred.
Id. Seriousness is measured in response to
“contemporary standards of decency.” Hudson
v. McMillian, 503 U.S. 1, 8 (1992). Routine discomforts
of prison life do not suffice. Id. Only deliberate
indifference to serious medical needs or extreme deprivations
regarding the conditions of confinement will implicate the
protections of the Eighth Amendment. Id. at 9. A
Plaintiff must also establish a subjective element showing
the prison officials acted with a sufficiently culpable state
of mind. Id. Deliberate indifference is
characterized by obduracy or wantonness, not inadvertence or
good faith error. Whitley v. Albers, 475 U.S. 312,
319 (1986). Liability cannot be predicated solely on
negligence. Id. A prison official violates the
Eighth Amendment only when both the objective and subjective
requirements are met. Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S.
825, 834 (1994).
allegations fail to demonstrate a sufficiently serious
deprivation. The Eighth “ensures that inmates receive
adequate food, clothing, shelter, and medical care, and ...
‘take reasonable measures to guarantee the safety of
the inmates.' ” Id. at 832 (quoting
Hudson v. Palmer, 468 U.S. 517, 526-27 (1984)).
This, however, does not mandate that a prisoner be free from
discomfort or inconvenience during his or her incarceration.
Ivey v. Wilson, 832 F.2d 950, 954 (6th Cir. 1987)
(per curiam) (quoting Rhodes, 452 U.S. at 346).
Prisoners are not entitled to unfettered access to the
medical treatment of their choice, see Hudson v.
McMillian, 503 U.S. 1, 9 (1992), nor can they
“expect the amenities, conveniences and services of a
good hotel.” Harris v. Fleming, 839 F.2d 1232,
1235 (7th Cir. 1988); see Thaddeus-X v. Blatter, 175
F.3d 378, 405 (6th Cir. 1999). In sum, the Eighth Amendment
affords the constitutional minimum protection against
conditions of confinement which constitute health threats,
but does address those conditions which cause the prisoner to
feel merely uncomfortable or which cause aggravation or
annoyance. Hudson, 503 U.S. at 9-10 (requiring
extreme or grave deprivation). The conditions to which
Plaintiff was subjected for three days, bologna sandwiches
and restricted visitation and mail delivery, do not
constitute health threats. While they were arguably
uncomfortable and vexing, they were only briefly imposed and
cannot be described as “barbarous” or in
contravention of society's “evolving standards of
decency.” Rhodes v. Chapman, 452 U.S. 337, 346
Plaintiff fails to allege facts to meet the subjective
component. The subjective component requires a showing that
prison officials knew of, and acted with deliberate
indifference to, an inmate's health or safety.
Wilson, 501 U.S. at 302-03. Deliberate indifference
“entails something more than mere negligence.”
Farmer, 511 U.S. at 835. This standard is met if
“the official knows of and disregards an excessive risk
to inmate health or safety; the official must both be aware
of facts from which the inference could be drawn that a
substantial risk of serious harm exists, and he must also
draw the inference.” Flanory v. Bonn, 604 F.3d
249, 253-55 (6th Cir. 2010)(citing Farmer, 511 U.S.
at 837). The City of Cleveland is not identified anywhere in
the Complaint and Plaintiff does not allege facts suggesting
how the City is connected to conditions in the county jail.
Plaintiff alleges Clark was responsible for sending him to
segregation but does not suggest Clark directly participated
in the activities described in the Complaint. Finally,
Plaintiff does not allege facts to ...