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Brooks v. Arrington

United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division

November 10, 2014


Craig Adolph Brooks, Plaintiff, Pro se, Oneonata, AL.



Craig Adolph Brooks, hereinafter referred to as " the plaintiff, " has filed a pro se complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that rights, privileges, or immunities afforded him under the Constitution or laws of the United States have been abridged during his incarceration at Blount County Correctional Facility in Oneonta, Alabama. The plaintiff names as defendants Blount County Sheriff Lloyd Arrington, Captain Ronald Kent, Officer Donna Kent, Officer Juanita Watts, and the Blount County Sheriff's Office and Correctional Facility. The plaintiff seeks monetary and injunctive relief. In accordance with the usual practices of this court and 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1), the amended complaint was referred to the undersigned magistrate judge for a preliminary report and recommendation. See McCarthy v. Bronson, 500 U.S. 136, 111 S.Ct. 1737, 114 L.Ed.2d 194 (1991).

I. Standard of Review

The Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995, Pub. L. No. 104-134, § 804, 110 Stat. 1321, and 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, requires this court to screen complaints filed by prisoners against officers or employees of governmental entities and to dismiss the complaint or any portion of the complaint that it finds frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. Where practicable, the court may sua sponte dismiss a prisoner's complaint prior to service. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a).

A dismissal pursuant to § 1915A (b)(1) for failure to state a claim is governed by the same standards as dismissals for failure to state a claim under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). See Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 215, 127 S.Ct. 910, 166 L.Ed.2d 798 (2007). To survive dismissal for failure to state a claim, " a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) (internal quotation omitted). A plaintiff must assert " more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not" suffice. Bell A. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007). Because " [p]ro se pleadings are held to a less stringent standard than pleadings drafted by attorneys[, ]" they are liberally construed. Boxer X v. Harris, 437 F.3d 1107, 1110 (11th Cir. 2006).

II. Factual Allegations

The plaintiff alleges that chlorine bleach and alkaline detergents are used together to clean housing units in the Blount County Correctional Facility. (Doc. 1 at 3). Inmates are allowed to use these chemicals freely and the chemical closet is open at all times to inmate trustees. (Id.). A dispenser system is in use and material safety data sheets (" MSDS") cover chemicals in the dispenser. (Id.). However, there are no MSDS sheets in the closet to cover the chlorine bleach. (Id. at 4).

The kitchen crew and trustees also have access to similar chemicals, but there are no MSDS sheets or equipment such as gloves, protective eyewear, or breathing masks available for using these chemicals. (Doc. 1 at 4-5). The plaintiff also complains that there is no emergency medical kit available. (Id. at 5). Officer Watts is on duty five days a week, but trustees have full control of these areas from 2:00 a.m. until 8:30 p.m. (Id.).

On December 14, 2013, the plaintiff submitted a medical request form in which he complained of being allergic to " [poisonous] chemicals such as high [alkaline degreasers] and chlorine gasses released by mixing of chemicals." (Doc. 1 at 7). The plaintiff alleged that he was " coughing up blood" and experiencing nosebleeds. (Id.). The plaintiff stated in the medical request form that he had asked Officer Watts for a mask two days earlier, on December 12, 2013, but she responded that she did not have any and the plaintiff should use the chemicals as best he could. (Id.). Also on December 14, 2013, the plaintiff submitted an inmate request form in which he complained that Officer Watts failed to provide him with a breathing mask to handle chemicals in the kitchen on December 12, 2013. (Doc. 1 at 8). He stated that was not being provided proper safety equipment for handling " dangerous chemicals." (Id.).

On December 16, 2014, Sergeant Greene placed the plaintiff in a lock down unit. (Doc. 1 at 6). Sergeant Greene advised the plaintiff that he was not being placed in the lock down unit as punishment but to keep him from being exposed to hazardous chemicals. (Id.). The plaintiff complains that jail officials attempted to solve the matter by placing him in lock down instead of " taking appropriate steps and providing proper safety equipment and eliminating chlorine bleach . . . in units unless properly [supervised] . . . ." (Id.).

For relief, the plaintiff requests six million dollars, that an " environmental and safety program" be put in place at the Blount County Correctional Facility, and that officers be prosecuted for " unlawful distribution of ...

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