United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
January 12, 2004.
ANTHONY M. JOHNSON
CITY OF PHILADELPHIA
The opinion of the court was delivered by: JOHN FULLAM, Senior District Judge
Plaintiff, a state prisoner confined in the Curran Fromhold
Correctional Facility, brought this civil action contending that the
living conditions at that facility did not measure up to constitutional
standards, and constituted violations of the Eighth Amendment. The
defendant filed a Motion for Summary Judgment, to which plaintiff has not
filed a response. The case is listed for trial commencing January 12,
It appears that, at times, the number of prisoners incarcerated at the
Curran-Fromhold facility is greater than can be accommodated in the
normal two-man cells. At such times, some prisoners are housed in
multi-purpose rooms, which accommodate six prisoners, but which do not
have toilet or washing facilities. Prisoners in the multi-purpose rooms
are required to use a nearby cell which has been converted into a
bathroom, and plaintiff alleges that it is sometimes necessary for
prisoners to wait in line before gaining access to the bathroom.
also charges that the shower facilities are inadequate (five showers to
accommodate 24 prisoners).
In the prison grievances filed by plaintiff, and also in the main body
of his complaint in this action, plaintiff sought merely to be
transferred from a multi-purpose room to a regular cell. He asserted that
such transfers were supposed to be based upon reverse seniority
i.e., those who had been in the multi-purpose rooms longest would receive
the next transfer to a regular cell but that his seniority rights
were not recognized. The complaint does, however, also seek an award of
damages for the perceived constitutional violations as well as a transfer
to better accommodations.
I have carefully reviewed the entire record, with particular attention
to plaintiff's deposition, and am satisfied that the conditions
complained of do not, as a matter of law, constitute cruel and unusual
punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment. The conditions described
by plaintiff amount, at most, to proof that, because of over-crowding and
the actions of other inmates, plaintiff's stay was not as comfortable as
it might have been, and that the work details assigned to cleaning up
trash were not always efficient. But all of plaintiff's needs were
attended to, he was permitted outside his cell several times during each
day, and he suffered no physical detriment of any kind. Plaintiff simply
cannot meet the requirements for Eighth
Amendment violations set forth in such cases as Rhodes v. Chapman,
452 U.S. 337 (1981) and Tillery v. Owens, 905 F.2d 418 (3d Cir. 1990).
Moreover, by the time plaintiff's deposition was taken on October 30,
2003, he was no longer exposed to the conditions about which he
complains; his failure to respond to the summary judgment motion suggests
the absence of a live controversy.
For the foregoing reasons, defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment was,
by this Court's Order of January 8, 2004, granted.
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