Meo et al. v. Ashbel

Plaintiff inmates brought an action under 42 U.S.C. §. 1983, alleging that, in deliberate indifference to their serious medical needs, the defendant director of the Rhode Island Department of Corrections exposed them to the risk of future disease by housing them in cells located in a maximum security building where most of the inmates smoked.  They sought injunctive relief to order that the prison immediately be a no-smoking facility.  The district court denied the plaintiffs’ motion, ruling that they had failed to establish that they were being subjected to an immediate risk of irreparable harm and that they were likely to succeed on the merits.  The court ruled that “the inmates did not indicate the extent or severity of their alleged respiratory problems and did not document those problems.”  Moreover, since the prison had issued a no-smoking policy which was being implemented in stages, “the inmates could not establish deliberate indifference.”

2002 U.S.Dist. LEXIS 15396 (U.S.D.C. R.I. 2002).