Bethel v. Aikens, et al.

A nonsmoking prisoner brought an action under 42 U.S.C. sec. 1983, claiming that the defendants violated his constitutional rights under the Eighth Amendment.  After undergoing triple-bypass surgery, Bethel was returned to prison.  After the surgery, he was advised to avoid exposure to secondhand smoke.  He repeatedly requested that he be placed in a no-smoking unit.  By failing to do so, the defendants, he argued, were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical condition.  The district court granted summary judgment for the defendants, ruling that Bethel had failed to demonstrate a link between the secondhand smoke at the prison and his chest pain, breathing difficulties or other symptoms.  “He has presented no evidence of the degree of his exposure to ETS and whether that degree of exposure would have been sufficient to cause his symptoms.”

1994 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8092 (U.S.D.C. N.D. Ind. 1994).