Cottle v. Bell, et al.

A prisoner appeals the district court’s order dismissing his civil rights suit as being frivolous.  The lawsuit challenges Cottle’s exposure to secondhand smoke at the PenderCorrectionalCenter in Burgaw, North Carolina.  The district court had dismissed the complaint as duplicative of a suit he had filed (Cottle v. Lee) which challenges his exposure to secondhand smoke at the Central Prison in Raleigh.  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled that the district court erred when it dismissed the complaint, since “each complaint names completely different defendants, specifically, the warden and other named correctional officers at these respective penal institutions.”  The court thus vacated the district court’s order and remanded the case so that it may be reinstated on the docket.

2000 U.S. App. LEXIS 19956 (U.S.C.A. 4th Cir. 2000).