United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Western Division
PROPOSED FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION
following Recommendation has been sent to United States
District Judge D.P. Marshall Jr. You may file written
objections to all or part of this Recommendation. If you do
so, those objections must: (1) specifically explain the
factual and/or legal basis for your objection, and (2) be
received by the Clerk of this Court within fourteen (14) days
of this Recommendation. By not objecting, you may waive the
right to appeal questions of fact.
Anthony Smith, who is incarcerated at the Van Buren County
Detention Center,  filed a pro se complaint pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Doc. No. 2). Having reviewed
Smith's complaint, the undersigned finds that Smith fails
to describe facts sufficient to state a claim for relief and
recommends dismissal of his complaint.
law requires courts to screen prisoner complaints. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A, 1915(e)(2). Claims that are legally frivolous
or malicious; that fail to state a claim for relief; or that
seek money from a defendant who is immune from paying damages
should be dismissed before the defendants are served. 28
U.S.C. § 1915A, 1915(e)(2). Although a complaint
requires only a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, the factual
allegations set forth therein must be sufficient to raise the
right to relief above the speculative level. See
Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2); Bell Atlantic Corporation v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (“a
plaintiff's obligation to provide the ‘grounds'
of his ‘entitle[ment]to relief' requires more than
labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action will not do. . . .”).
While construed liberally, a pro se complaint must
contain enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face, not merely conceivable.
state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must
allege that the conduct of a defendant acting under color of
state law deprived him of a right, privilege, or immunity
secured by the United States Constitution or by federal law.
42 U.S.C. § 1983. Construing Smith's complaint
liberally, it appears he attempts to state Eighth Amendment
deliberate-indifference claims based on the conditions of his
confinement. Smith claims the defendants were deliberately
indifferent to his needs in several ways. He is unhappy with
the diet provided; he complains that his cell is too bright
to sleep more than five and a half hours a night; and he
alleges the cooks and servers do not wear hair or facial nets
while cooking, serving, and handing out food trays. Doc. No.
2 at 4-6. Smith also complains about the detention
center's failure to follow jail policy. Id. at 4
treatment a prisoner receives in prison and the conditions of
his confinement are subject to scrutiny under the Eighth
Amendment. Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 832
(1970). To prevail on an Eighth Amendment claim, an inmate
must show: (1) the condition was serious enough to deprive
him of the minimal civilized measure of life's
necessities, or to constitute a substantial risk of serious
harm, and (2) officials were deliberately indifferent to the
inmate's health and safety. Smith v. Copeland,
87 F.3d 265, 268 (8th Cir. 1996); Frye v. Pettis County
Sheriff Dept., 41 Fed.Appx. 906 (8th Cir. 2002) (unpub.
per curiam); Wilson v. Seiter, 501 U.S. 294, 298
have a right to adequate nutrition, and failure to provide it
may constitute deliberate indifference that violates the
Eighth Amendment. Wishon v. Gammon, 978 F.2d 446,
449 (8th Cir. 1992). While an inmate is not generally
entitled to receive a particular type of food, if the food
provided is not nutritionally adequate, the Eighth Amendment
may be implicated. See Burgin v. Nix, 899 F.2d 733
(8th Cir. 1990). Smith claims that the food menu does not
change on a weekly basis and that inmates are not given
fruit, red meat, oatmeal, peanut butter, nuts, or a
sufficient amount of green vegetables. Doc. No. 2 at 4-5.
Smith does not claim that he has been denied food or that the
diet provided fails to provide sufficient calories or
nutrition. Smith does not describe any injury he has suffered
as a result of the jail's diet. Smith fails to state
sufficient facts to show that he has been denied the minimal
civilized measure of life's necessities or subjected to a
substantial risk of serious harm by the diet provided.
also complains that he can only sleep five to five and a half
hours a night due to light shining in his eyes. Sleep
deprivation can support an Eighth Amendment claim as sleep
deprivation has long been recognized as an effective tool of
torture. See Reck v. Pate, 367 U.S. 433 (1961).
Smith, however, does not allege that he is completely
deprived of sleep or that he is getting too little sleep to
adequately function. In fact, he does not describe any injury
he has suffered as a result of getting only five to five and
a half hours of sleep per night. This is insufficient to
state a viable constitutional claim. See e.g., Muick v.
Reno, No. 03-1725, 2003 WL 22952703, at *2 (8th Cir.
Dec. 10, 2003) (unpublished opinion) (alleged lighting
problems in special housing unit were not sufficiently
serious to violate prisoner's Eighth Amendment rights);
Biesanz v. Ferguson, No. 10-5017, 2012 WL 601585, at
*7 (W.D. Ark. Jan. 19, 2012), report and recommendation
adopted, No. CIV. 10-5017, 2012 WL 601590 (W.D. Ark.
Feb. 23, 2012) (court found no constitutional violation where
plaintiff who slept approximately four hours a night did not
appear to seek any medical or other help for his
sleeplessness and did not testify as to any other physical
impairment caused by constant lighting). See also
Shepherd v. Ault, 982 F.Supp. 643, 645 (N.D. Iowa 1997)
(providing a thorough description of cases examining constant
illumination as a constitutional violation).