Hartline, et al. v. Pontesso, et al.

Plaintiffs, former federal prisoners of the Federal Correctional Institution in Milan, Michigan, filed suit alleging exposure to secondhand smoke in violation of the Eighth Amendment.  Hartline complained that he was housed in a dormitory in which smoking was permitted for 61 days in late 1995 and that, even after he was housed in a non-smoking dormitory, he was exposed to tobacco smoke at the whim of the defendants.  The district court dismissed the case for failure to state a claim.  On appeal, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed the dismissal, concluding that the facts here were substantially distinguishable from the facts in Helling v. McKinney.  The court found that the “district court correctly concluded that the duration of Hartline’s exposure to environmental tobacco smoke was so short that, absent any indication that Hartline had alerted defendants to some heightened vulnerability to such conditions, no deliberate indifference to a serious risk was demonstrated.”

(U.S.C.A. 6th Cir. 1999), 1999 U.S. App. LEXIS 4701).