Becker v. McAninch, et al.

An inmate at the Chillicothe Correctional Institution filed suit, alleging that the prison officials demonstrated a deliberate indifference to his health by refusing to immediately move him to a non-smoking cell and that he has suffered trouble breathing and chest pains as a result of being exposed to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) because he’s been housed with a smoking cellmate.  After making numerous requests to be transferred, he was told that he has been put on a waiting list for a non-smoking cell.  The trial court granted the prison officials’ motion for judgment on the pleadings.  The Court of Appeals of Ohio affirmed the dismissal, ruling that Becker failed to show that he is being exposed to unreasonably high levels of ETS and that the risk of harm is “so grave that it violates contemporary standards of decency to expose anyone unwillingly to such a risk.”  Regarding the question of deliberate indifference, the Court of Appeals noted that he had been put on a waiting list for a non-smoking cell and that “[r]equiring him to wait until space becomes available does not subject him to a risk that today’s society deems intolerable.”

1998 Ohio App. LEXIS 6349, Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fourth Appellate District, Ross County.