United States District Court, D. Montana, Helena Division
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION OF UNITED STATES
Johnston United States Magistrate Judge.
Darren Goldsmith, a prisoner proceeding without counsel,
filed a Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The
Court screened the Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1915 and §1915A and determined that it violated Rule 8
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and failed to state a
claim. (Doc. 5.)
Goldsmith filed an Amended Complaint (Doc. 7) but he failed
to correct the deficiencies with his original Complaint.
Therefore, this matter should be dismissed.
Amended Complaint Mr. Goldsmith makes the following
Goldsmith was assigned to work in the dishwashing area of the
high-side kitchen at Montana State Prison in early to mid
April 2015. He was told by his supervisors that he would need
to contact his unit sergeant to get non-slip work-boots. He
made multiple requests to Defendants Pasha and Weber to get
these work-boots but his requests were denied. Specifically,
on May 9, 2015, Mr. Goldsmith was advised by Sgt. Pasha that
his job did not require boots.
Goldsmith claims, he was the only member of his work crew
that did not have work boots and Food Services Director,
Danny Riddle, refused to contact unit staff concerning his
footwear. He alleges his state issued footwear (plastic and
nylon mesh velcro shoes), the only shoes he had for work,
began to rot from the water, grease, foods, and heavy
detergent chemical exposure.
13, 2015, the drains of the industrial dishwasher in the
kitchen became clogged resulting in several inches of dirty
chemical water on the tile floors. The floors became
dangerously slick. This went on for several days. Ultimately,
Mr. Goldsmith fell and was injured. (Amd. Cmplt., Doc. 7 at
Goldsmith is a prisoner proceeding in forma pauperis so the
Court must review his Complaint under 28 U.S.C. §§
1915, 1915A. Sections 1915A(b) and 1915(e)(2)(B) require the
Court to dismiss a complaint filed in forma pauperis and/or
by a prisoner against a governmental defendant before it is
served if it is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary
relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.
forth in the Court's prior Order, the Eighth Amendment
requires prison officials to ensure the safety of prisoners.
Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825 (1994); Hearns
v. Terhune, 413 F.3d 1036, 1040-42 (9th Cir. 2005);
LeMaire v. Maass, 12 F.3d 1444 (9th Cir. 1993). If
they fail, they violate the Eighth Amendment but only if they
were deliberately indifferent to the risk of harm in
question, meaning they knew of the risk and but failed to
take reasonable measures to ensure prisoner's safety.
Farmer, 511 U.S. at 837; Wilson v. Seiter,
501 U.S. 294, 302-03 (1991); Hearns, 413 F.3d 1036.
of serious safety hazards in occupational areas may be
sufficient to violate the Eighth Amendment. Hoptowit v.
Spellman, 753 F.2d 779 (9th Cir. 1985); but see
Osolinski v. Kane, 92 F.3d 934, 937 (9th Cir. 1996)
(single oven with broken door hinges did not violate
contemporary standards of decency where plaintiff failed to
plead additional condition exacerbating the inherent danger
of the broken hinges). In order to state such a claim, Mr.
Goldsmith must allege a sufficiently serious safety hazard,
that each individual Defendant was aware of that hazard, and
that each Defendant failed to take reasonable measures to
ensure his safety. At most, he has alleged negligence.
is clear that negligent conduct alone does not state a
constitutional claim for relief under § 1983.
Daniels v. Williams, 474 U.S. 327, 329-30 (1986).
Indeed, courts have consistently held that slip and fall
accidents do not give rise to a federal cause of action.
LeMaire v. Maass, 12 F.3d 1444, 1457 (9th Cir. 1993)
(even if shackled inmate might fall on wet floor while
showering, allegations of “slippery prison
floors” do not state “even an arguable claim for
cruel and unusual punishment”) (quoting Jackson v.
Arizona, 885 F.2d 639, 641 (9th Cir. 1989)); see
also Coleman v. Sweetin, 745 F.3d 756, 764 (5th Cir.
2014) (agreeing with district court that, as a matter of law,
“prisoner slip-and-fall claims almost never serve as
the predicate for constitutional violations”);
Reynolds v. Powell, 370 F.3d 1028, 1031 (10th Cir.
2004) (slippery condition arising from standing water in
prison shower was not a condition posing a substantial risk
of serious harm as required under the Eighth Amendment, even
where inmate was on crutches and had warned prison employees
that he was at heightened risk of falling since
“slippery floors constitute a daily risk faced by
members of the public at large”); Marsh v.
Jones, 53 F.3d 707, 711-12 (5th Cir. 1995) (inmate's
claim for monetary damages resulting from defendants'
failure to warn that a leaking or sweating air-conditioning
unit made the floor wet was “a garden-variety
negligence claim” that was not actionable under §
1983); Noble v. Grimes, 350 F. App'x 892, 893
(5th Cir.2009) (dismissing plaintiff's deliberate
indifference claims against officers where plaintiff alleged
that he slipped and fell in standing water in the shower and
contended that officers knew of dangerous conditions and
failed to take preventative measures, because at the most his
allegations constituted negligence which is not actionable
under § 1983); Bell v. Ward, 88 F. App'x
125, 126-27 (7th Cir. 2004) (dismissing as negligence §
1983 claim complaining about officers' failure to clean
up known water in cell block which caused plaintiff to slip
and fall); Denz v. Clearfield Cty., 712 F.Supp. 65,
66 (W.D.Pa. 1989) (finding no Eighth Amendment claim based on
slippery floor in prison cell, despite officials' alleged
knowledge of hazard).
if, as Mr. Goldsmith alleges, Defendants were aware that his
shoes were slippery combined with the wet floors in the
kitchen, he has not demonstrated that his claim constitutes
anything more than negligence-which is not actionable under
§ 1983. See Martin v. City of N.Y., No. 11 Civ.
600(PKC)(RLE), 2012 WL 1392648, at *9 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 20,
2012) (dismissing prisoner's deliberate indifference
claim that the inadequate soles on his prison-issued shoes
caused him to slip and fall on the wet floor because
“bodily injuries sustained from a slip-and-fall on a
wet floor simply do not rise to the level of a constitutional
violation”); Wynn v. Ankoh, No. 1:04 CV
37(WLS), 2006 WL 2583370, at *1-2 (M.D.Ga. Sept.6, 2006)