Jones v. Superintendent, Civ. A. No. 73-C-56-H to 73-C-58-H.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Western District of Virginia)
Writing for the CourtDALTON
Citation370 F. Supp. 488
PartiesDonald Rayburn JONES et al. v. SUPERINTENDENT. Michael Gayle GALLAHAN v. E. A. HENRY, Superintendent. Donald Rayburn JONES v. SUPERINTENDENT.
Docket NumberCiv. A. No. 73-C-56-H to 73-C-58-H.
Decision Date18 January 1974

370 F. Supp. 488

Donald Rayburn JONES et al.
v.
SUPERINTENDENT.

Michael Gayle GALLAHAN
v.
E. A. HENRY, Superintendent.

Donald Rayburn JONES
v.
SUPERINTENDENT.

Civ. A. Nos. 73-C-56-H to 73-C-58-H.

United States District Court, W. D. Virginia, Harrisonburg Division.

January 18, 1974.


William A. Carter, III, Asst. Atty. Gen., Richmond, Va., for respondent.

370 F. Supp. 489

OPINION and JUDGMENT

DALTON, District Judge.

Civil Action No. 73-C-56-H was filed on October 31, 1973, by petitioners Donald R. Jones, Robert E. Titdale, and Michael G. Gallahan, inmates of White Post Correctional Field Unit #7, White Post, Virginia, on a complaint which this court will construe as one filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Petitioners seek damages in the amount of $100,000 and injunctive relief against J. D. Terry, former Acting Superintendent of Unit #7, and other Unit #7 correctional staff personnel for alleged shortcomings in the conditions of confinement met by petitioners during stays in the isolation cells at the field unit.

In Civil Action No. 73-C-57-H, filed on October 31, 1973, Michael G. Gallahan, a vegetarian, seeks damages in the amount of $10,000 for allegedly having been deprived of an adequate meatless diet while serving a stint of fifteen days in isolation at Unit #7.

In Civil Action No. 73-C-58-H, filed on October 31, 1973, Donald R. Jones seeks an injunction that would prohibit employees of the Virginia Division of Corrections from taking any retaliatory action against him or his fellow litigators in the above two cases, or otherwise interfering with their pursuance of that litigation.

Upon motion of the respondents, this court by order of December 4, 1973, ordered the above three cases consolidated. Respondents have moved for the consolidation of two other cases filed by Donald R. Jones, Civil Actions No. 73-C-55-H and No. 73-C-65-H, which involve the earlier removal of Jones from the study release program at Correctional Field Unit #8, Linville, Virginia, and his subsequent transfer to Unit #7. The court will consolidate those two cases, but not with the cases herein, as the allegations in Nos. 73-C-55-H and 73-C-65-H concern events that transpired at Unit #8. Respondents' motion to consolidate these two cases herein is therefore denied.

Civil Action No. 73-C-56-H was filed during the fifteen-day confinement in isolation of petitioners Jones, Tisdale and Gallahan after they were found guilty of institutional infractions by Unit #7's Adjustment Committee; those findings are not at issue. Jones and Gallahan began confinement on October 18, 1973; Tisdale on October 19, 1973. Petitioners' allegations can be summarized as follows:

1. Infrequent attention was paid to inmates in isolation, specifically from 12 midnight to 2:00 p. m. on October 24, 1973, when no one entered the isolation area to attend to medicinal or hygenic needs, even though several count checks were made and one meal was served. One petitioner says that he was to receive medication on request, another that he was to receive medicine every four hours.
2(a). The unit physician never visits the isolation cells.
2(b). The Superintendent has threatened petitioners with disciplinary action if the physician finds that they are faking illness.
3. Meals for men in isolation are not the same as meals served the regular prison population; seconds are not allowed; meals are often late and cold.
4(a). No implements with which the cells may be cleaned are issued to isolation inmates.
4(b). Serving trays with food scraps are often left lying in the hallway from one meal to the next, and attract vermin.
5. Heating equipment is outdated and often inoperative.
6. What personal property will be allowed to be retained in the isolation cells is arbitrarily decided.
7. Isolation cells are not furnished with desks, chairs or tables, and lighting is inadequate for reading after darkness.
8. There is no opportunity for exercise while in isolation.
370 F. Supp. 490
9. Adjustment committee proceedings are "cut-and-dried affairs."
10. Inmates have limited access to unit administrators.
11. Petitioners have been harassed and verbally abused on occasion.

Respondents have submitted records and affidavits to support their motion for summary judgment upon the ground that none of the above allegations contain facts that elevate the claims to constitutional dimensions. Petitioner Jones, who drafted the complaint, has submitted a memorandum in support of his motion in opposition to respondents' motion for summary judgment. The court has carefully considered the record, and agrees with respondents' contention that summary judgment in their favor is in order. "It is only when the deprivations of prison confinement impose conditions of such onerous burdens as to be of constitutional dimensions that courts may intervene in prison management." Breeden v. Jackson, 457 F.2d 578 (4th Cir. 1972).

Petitioners' complaints do not reach the level deemed actionable in Breeden v. Jackson, supra. They complain that they were denied medical assistance for some fourteen hours on October 24, 1973, but not one individual is identified as having suffered from the alleged deprival. The isolation cells inspection sheet for that date, which has been made a part of the record, shows that correctional staff members came through the isolation area hourly that day, as they are required to do. The record indicates that both Jones and Tisdale received medications on the date of October 24, 1973. In addition, the reports covering the petitioners' stay in isolation are replete with instances of at least two of the inmates refusing to take medication. Indeed, the record tends to bear out respondents' contention that at least one of the petitioners, Jones, was using sick call as a subtle means of harassing the guard personnel. He had been seen on some twelve occasions for various ailments by the unit physician since August 8, 1973, but had refused on three separate occasions to undergo a complete physical examination, for which appointments had been made in an attempt to ascertain Jones' true state of health. Respondents admit to some annoyance at having to repeatedly take "malingerers" to the doctor, but emphatically deny that any threats concerning medical care have been made....

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16 practice notes
  • Pierce v. King, No. 5:94-CRT-523-BO.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. Eastern District of North Carolina
    • March 7, 1996
    ...of due process. Mere words or threats do not amount to an actionable assault under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Jones v. Superintendent, 370 F.Supp. 488, 491 (W.D.Va.1974). "The subjection of a prisoner to verbal abuse or profanity does not arise to the level of a constitutional deprivation."......
  • Garraway v. Lappin, No. 4:CV-10-1697
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Pennsylvania
    • March 21, 2012
    ...harassment does not give rise to a constitutional violation enforceable under § 1983."); and Jones v. Superintendent, 370 F. Supp. 488, 491 (W.D. Va. 1974). Nor is the use of racial slurs, as offensive as they are. Simmon v. Mallick, No. 10-739, 2010 WL 2079865, at 7-8 (M.D. Pa. April ......
  • Clark v. Zimmerman, Civ. No. 75-443.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Pennsylvania
    • May 7, 1975
    ...remedies in order to prosecute a civil rights 394 F. Supp. 1172 action under 42 U.S.C.A. § 1983); Jones v. Superintendent, W.D.Va.1974, 370 F.Supp. 488. See also Recent Developments, "State Inmates' Challenge To Conditions Of Prison Confinement Is Cognizable Under 42 U.S.C.A. § 1983 An......
  • Morrison v. Martin, No. 89-461-CRT-F.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. Eastern District of North Carolina
    • August 16, 1990
    ...a constitutional claim, without regard to their nature. Collins v. Cundy, 603 F.2d 825, 827 (10th Cir.1979); Jones v. Superintendent, 370 F.Supp. 488, 491 (W.D.Va.1974); Zeno v. Cropper, 650 F.Supp. 138 (S.D.N. Y.1986); Keyes v. City of Albany, 594 F.Supp. 1147 (N.D.N.Y.1984); Gaut v. Sunn,......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
16 cases
  • Pierce v. King, No. 5:94-CRT-523-BO.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. Eastern District of North Carolina
    • March 7, 1996
    ...of due process. Mere words or threats do not amount to an actionable assault under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Jones v. Superintendent, 370 F.Supp. 488, 491 (W.D.Va.1974). "The subjection of a prisoner to verbal abuse or profanity does not arise to the level of a constitutional deprivation." Morrison......
  • Garraway v. Lappin, No. 4:CV-10-1697
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Pennsylvania
    • March 21, 2012
    ...1993) ("[V]erbal harassment does not give rise to a constitutional violation enforceable under § 1983."); and Jones v. Superintendent, 370 F. Supp. 488, 491 (W.D. Va. 1974). Nor is the use of racial slurs, as offensive as they are. Simmon v. Mallick, No. 10-739, 2010 WL 2079865, at 7-8 (M.D......
  • Clark v. Zimmerman, Civ. No. 75-443.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Pennsylvania
    • May 7, 1975
    ...remedies in order to prosecute a civil rights 394 F. Supp. 1172 action under 42 U.S.C.A. § 1983); Jones v. Superintendent, W.D.Va.1974, 370 F.Supp. 488. See also Recent Developments, "State Inmates' Challenge To Conditions Of Prison Confinement Is Cognizable Under 42 U.S.C.A. § 1983 And Ent......
  • Morrison v. Martin, No. 89-461-CRT-F.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. Eastern District of North Carolina
    • August 16, 1990
    ...a constitutional claim, without regard to their nature. Collins v. Cundy, 603 F.2d 825, 827 (10th Cir.1979); Jones v. Superintendent, 370 F.Supp. 488, 491 (W.D.Va.1974); Zeno v. Cropper, 650 F.Supp. 138 (S.D.N. Y.1986); Keyes v. City of Albany, 594 F.Supp. 1147 (N.D.N.Y.1984); Gaut v. Sunn,......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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