Before the Court are defendant District of Columbia's motion to dismiss and plaintiff's response. Upon consideration of the entire record, the Court grants defendant's motion and dismisses plaintiff's case.
On January 18, 1990, plaintiff filed suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the District of Columbia, the District of Columbia Department of Corrections, and several correctional officers.
On February 26, 1990, plaintiff amended his complaint.
The complaint alleges that "DEFENDANTS IS [sic] AND HAS [sic] AND WILL CONTINUE TO VIOLATE, DISREGARD AND WILLFULLY AND RECKLESSLY NEGLECT IT'S [sic] OWN RULES, REGULATIONS, POLICIES, DEPARTMENTAL ORDERS AND THE LAW WITHOUT THE PENETRABLE JURISDICTION OF THIS UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT." Complaint at 5. Plaintiff's complaint stems from his placement in adjustment segregation in November and December of 1989. The complaint also alleges that "THE ADJUSTMENT SEGREGATION CONTROL CELLS UNIT, CELL BLOCK THREE (3) IS PLAGUED WITH RATS, MICE, ROACHES, SPIDERS, FLYING BUGS AND INSECTS, BIRDS, LICE AND THE SHOWER WATER IS MOST TIMES COLD."
Complaint at 6.
According to the complaint, plaintiff was placed in adjustment segregation on November 17, 1989, after a correctional officer "observed an alcoholic beverage" in plaintiff's cell during a "shakedown" of his cell block. On November 20, 1989, the adjustment board held a hearing and, after hearing testimony from plaintiff, who claimed the discovered beverage was only fruit juice, found plaintiff guilty, and recommended that plaintiff be kept in segregation for fourteen days. Plaintiff appealed the Board's decision to defendant Douglas Stempson, who denied the appeal on November 28, l929.
First, as to plaintiff's allegations that defendants do not follow their own procedures, this does not present a federal question. See Crosby-Bey v. District of Columbia, 252 U.S. App. D.C. 20, 786 F.2d 1182, 1186 (D.C. Cir. 1986) ("Lorton's violation of its own regulations does not, in and of itself, violate federal law.") "These 'distinctively local controversies' are more properly raised in the District of Columbia courts." Id. (citing Palmore v. United States, 411 U.S. 389, 93 S. Ct. 1670, 1682, 36 L. Ed. 2d 342 (1973)). Accordingly, the Court dismisses this claim pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1) for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1).
Second, as to plaintiff's claim under the eighth amendment, the Court finds that it fails to state a claim for which relief can be granted. In Rhodes v. Chapman, the Supreme court established the judicial framework for determining when prison conditions rise to the level of cruel and unusual punishment under the eighth amendment. See Rhodes v. Chapman, 452 U.S. 337, 101 S. Ct. 2392, 69 L. Ed. 2d 59 (1981). In so doing, the Court cautioned that "in assessing claims that conditions of confinement are cruel and unusual, courts must bear in mind that their inquiries 'spring from constitutional requirements and that judicial answers to them must reflect that fact rather than a court's idea of how best to operate a detention facility.'" Id. at 2401 (quoting Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 99 S. Ct. 1861, 1874, 60 L. Ed. 2d 447 (1979)). For the purposes of this motion, the Court assumes the conditions as described by plaintiff exist. While the Court does not condone such conditions and believes that, if they exist, they are substandard, the Court does not believe they rise to the level of cruel and unusual punishment. See Inmates of Occoquan v. Barry, 269 U.S. App. D.C. 210, 844 F.2d 828, 837 (D.C. Cir. 1988) ("It is cruel conditions, defined by reference to community norms, to which the Constitution speaks; neither 'deficient' conditions nor conditions that violate 'professional standards' rise to the lofty heights of constitutional significance."). Therefore, the Court dismisses plaintiff's eighth amendment claim pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6).
Accordingly, for the reasons stated above, it hereby is
ORDERED, that defendant's motion is granted. It hereby further is
ORDERED, that plaintiff's case is dismissed.
Stanley S. Harris
United States District Judge
Date: SEP 18 1992