Jacobs v. Young,, et al.

A nonsmoking prisoner filed a civil rights suit under 42 U.S.C. sec. 1983, alleging that the Defendants harassed and retaliated against him for filing a previous lawsuit and were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs by housing him with inmates who smoke.  Jacobs alleged that the prison’s policy allowed nonsmokers to be housed with smokers despite a physician’s recommendation otherwise and that he complained to prison officials about the effects of smoke on his health to no avail.  The district court granted the defendants’ motion for summary judgment.  On December 17, 1997, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reversed, ruling that “a genuine issue of material fact remains as to whether Jacobs had a serious medical need for a smoke-free environment” and “whether defendants were deliberately indifferent to Jacobs’ medical needs.”  The Court ruled that the “defendants have failed to show that they took reasonable measures to abate the risk of harm to Jacobs.”  The case was remanded for further proceedings.

On August 25, 1998, a jury trial commenced.  After Jacobs closed his case, the defendants moved for judgment as a matter of law; the district court granted the motion and dismissed the case.  Jacobs appealed.  On November 2, 1999, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled, at 1999 U.S. App. LEXIS 29219, that “the district court properly determined that Jacobs had not established a legally sufficient evidentiary basis for a reasonable jury to find in his favor on his Eighth Amendment medical claim.”  A plaintiff must prove that the defendants were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs; the district court had properly concluded that Jacobs had not done so.

1997 U.S. App. LEXIS 35843, (U.S.C.A. 6th Cir. 1997).