Oldham v. Beck

The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina (Judge William Osteen) had dismissed a nonsmoking prisoner’s lawsuit under 42 U.S.C.S. sec. 1983.    Oldham had alleged that, in deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs, prison officials violated prison policies by subjecting him to secondhand smoke and ignoring his multitude of specific ailments, including headaches, coronary artery disease, chest discomfort, hypertension and urinary incontinence, caused by his involuntary exposure to SHS.  The Fourth Circuit noted that, “[i]n construing the complaint of a pro se prisoner, it is well-settled that the district court must read the document liberally and in the light most favorable to the plaintiff” and that “[e]xposure to ETS may state an Eighth Amendment-based sec. 1983 claim, even if medical problems are not yet evident.  The court concluded that :Oldham’s complaint was prematurely dismissed by the district court.”

75 Fed. Appx. 122, 2003 U.S. App. LEXIS 18031 (U.S.C.A. 4th Cir. 2003).