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Dennis Kaftan v. John Cox

April 5, 2011

DENNIS KAFTAN,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
JOHN COX, GLADYSE TAYLOR, AND PAT QUINN, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Reagan, District Judge:

#K-70163,

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Plaintiff, an inmate in the Vienna Correctional Center, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which provides, in pertinent part:

(a) Screening.-- The court shall review, before docketing, if feasible or, in any event, as soon as practicable after docketing, a complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity.

(b) Grounds for Dismissal.-- On review, the court shall identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint--

(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or

(2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.

An action or claim is frivolous if "it lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact." Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). An action fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted if it does not plead "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). Upon careful review of the complaint and any supporting exhibits, the Court finds that the claims in the complaint may be dismissed at this point in the litigation.

Facts:

The following version of the facts of this case is gleaned from Plaintiff's complaint (Doc. 1). On November 29, 2010 Plaintiff was transferred to Vienna Correctional Center. Plaintiff was housed in a 100-man dormitory, where he shares a two-toilet restroom with the other 100 inmates who are housed in his building. The second floor of the building contains a restroom as well, but it remains locked so that it cannot be accessed by inmates.

Every other day Plaintiff is taken with 10 other inmates to shower. Though 10 inmates are showering at a time, the shower itself contains only 6 shower heads. Further, the showers lack ventilation. Plaintiff has noticed mold and water on the shower floor.

Plaintiff's cell is located next to a window with panels missing. Though the panels are covered by cardboard, cold air from outside still comes through the window, making the cell chilly in times of cold weather.

Generally, inmates are placed in the dormitory to wait for a space in general population to open up. This wait lasts generally between ten and twenty days. However, it is common practice to leave inmates causing problems in the dormitory for the duration of their imprisonment. Discussion:

Plaintiff alleges that these conditions of his confinement amount to cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment. Specifically, the overcrowding of inmates makes it difficult to access a toilet and a shower, and his cell is subject to cold drafts. In a case involving conditions of confinement in a prison, two elements are required to establish violations of the Eighth Amendment's cruel and unusual punishments clause. First, an objective element requires a showing that the conditions deny the inmate "the minimal civilized measure of life's necessities," creating an excessive risk to the inmate's health ...


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