Vializ v. Strange
Unsafe prison conditions can provide the basis for a civil-rights claim, if an inmate proves that prison officials knew about and disregarded an excessive risk to inmate safety. In January 2010, the plaintiff inmate, David Vializ, allegedly experienced a burning sensation on his arms and legs, and the defendant corrections officer provided a new mattress and sheets. On January 7, Dr. O'Hallaran prescribed a cream and instructed nurses to apply the cream to the plaintiff's body. The plaintiff was sent to segregation and required to apply the cream without the assistance of nurses. The plaintiff sued, alleging he was injured because of unsafe conditions of confinement. Unsafe conditions of confinement can provide the basis for a civil-rights suit pursuant to 42 United States Code §1983, if a prison official knows about and disregards an excessive risk to an inmate's safety. The plaintiff failed to allege that the defendants knew about the condition of his mattress, prior to the plaintiff's complaint, or failed to take appropriate action, when informed. The plaintiff failed to allege that the defendants were deliberately indifferent to a serious medical need, merely because he was required to apply the cream without the assistance of a nurse. The plaintiff's claim that the nurses, defendants Wendy and Yvon, failed to provide proper medical treatment was conclusory. The court could not find that the plaintiff's temporary placement in segregation violated the plaintiff's constitutional rights. The court dismissed the plaintiff's amended complaint.