Goffman v. Gross, et al.

A nonsmoking inmate brought a civil rights action against correctional officials, alleging that the officers’ refusal to provide him with a nonsmoking cellmate constituted deliberate indifference to his immediate medical needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment.  The inmate, who had one lung removed in 1988 due to lung cancer, requested that his attending physician issue him a medical slip permitting the holder to be housed with a nonsmoker.  The Doctor testified that he issued such slips when inmates requested them regardless of whether it was medically necessary for the inmate to be housed with a nonsmoking cellmate and that Goffman was cured of his lung cancer.  Despite his receipt of the medical slip, Goffman was housed with smoking cellmates.  He also suffered some post-surgery respiratory problems.  He then filed this lawsuit.  After an evidentiary hearing, a magistrate found that Goffman had failed to present evidence establishing either a serious medical need traceable to cigarette smoke or defendants’ indifference to it.  The district court denied his motion for a new trial.  The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment of the district court, which had adopted the magistrate’s findings.  See Solos, J., “Inmate Dealt 2nd Loss on Secondhand-smoke Lawsuit,” Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, August 31, 1995, 6.

59 F.3d 668 (7th Cir. 1995).