Palacio v. Hofbauer

A prison inmate filed a 42 U.S.C.S. sec. 1983 claim, pro se, against prison officials, alleging that he was subjected to cruel and unusual punishment by exposure to secondhand smoke and by the officials’ denial of adequate medical care.  The district court dismissed Palacio’s claim for failure to state a claim.  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reviewed the district court’s decision de novo and ruled that the district court “improperly dismissed Palacio’s complaint involving ETS exposure for failure to state a claim.”  He had “substantiated his claim that he has bronchitis, a medical condition that is exacerbated by ETS.  Thus, he has stated a claim that he has a medical need for a smoke-free environment.”  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled that Palacio “has not stated a claim for deliberate indifference to a serious medical need” since a prison official referred him to another official who had the authority to address his medical problem.  The judgment dismissing the ETS claim is vacated and the case is remanded for further proceedings.

106 Fed. Appx. 1002, 2004 U.S. App.. LEXIS 18968.