Elrod v. Swanson, et al.

A federal prisoner field a civil rights lawsuit, alleging that he was subjected to secondhand smoke in violation of his Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment.  He alleged that the secondhand smoke was aggravating his asthma.  The court granted summary judgment for the defendants, ruling that Elrod failed to make the showing, required under Helling, that he was exposed to unreasonably high levels of secondhand smoke in prison.   The court found that “there were no clinical indications, such as significant changes with plaintiff’s peak flow or his oxygenation levels, that indicate that plaintiff’s asthma condition was caused or aggravated by unreasonably high levels” of secondhand smoke.  Furthermore, evidence that prison officials had disciplined some prisoners for smoking in an unauthorized area :does not show that defendants were deliberately indifferent to the risk of harm” of secondhand smoke, “but rather it demonstrates that defendants implemented and enforced a smoking policy in an attempt to limit” exposure to secondhand smoke.

2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19713 (U.S.D.C. D., Kan.).