Buchanan v. United States of America, et al.

A prisoner brought an action alleging that the Defendants violated his Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment by exposing him to secondhand smoke with deliberate indifference to its severe detrimental effect on his present and future physical health.  The court granted the Defendants’ motion for summary judgment, ruling that Buchanan “has not introduced facts showing that the prison officials were aware of and deliberately indifferent to his alleged serious medical need, the smoke-related maladies,” which include “eye irritation, nausea, headaches and breathing problems.”  The court further ruled that “Defendants cannot be held deliberately indifferent to a medical need of which they were unaware.”

2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21655 (U.S.D.C. M.D., Penn.).