Coleman v. Sweetin, et al., No. 12-40012 (5th Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff appealed from the district court's sua sponte dismissal of his 42 U.S.C. 1983 suit as frivolous, for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted, and for want of prosecution. Plaintiff filed suit claiming that the shower floor of the "C Dorm" was slippery and unsafe, and that he received inadequate medical care. Plaintiff had fallen three times and sustained a fractured hip as a result. The court held that plaintiff did not state a claim under the Eighth Amendment with the contention that a slippery shower condition may inflict cruel and unusual punishment. The court affirmed the dismissal of plaintiff's claims against Defendants Sweetin, Oliver, Cowan, and Brown where prisoner slip-and-fall claims almost never serve as the predicate for constitutional violations as a matter of law. The court also concluded that Defendants Erwin and Fisher ignored plaintiff's complaints and pleas for help. Therefore, the court reversed the dismissal of these defendants and remanded for further proceedings. With regard to Defendant Lamb, however, the mere allegation that plaintiff complained of his pain and lack of official response during a disciplinary proceeding Lamb conducted on an entirely different matter did not suffice for Eighth Amendment purposes. Plaintiff's allegations were sufficient to raise the possibility of Defendant Hough's deliberate indifference to plaintiff and the court reversed the dismissal of Hough and remanded. Because the record was devoid of material delay or contumacious conduct, the court reversed the dismissal of Defendant McManus and remanded. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded in part.