United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Southern Division
ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT IN PART AND DIRECTING
SERVICE IN PART
Lawrence L. Piersol Judge
Winston Grey Brakeall, is an inmate at Mike Durfee State
Prison (MDSP) in Springfield, South Dakota. Brakeall filed a
pro se civil rights lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983. Brakeall was granted leave to proceed in forma
pauperis. Docket 6. The Court has "screened" this
case pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. For the following
reasons, the court dismisses Brakeall's complaint in part
and directs service in part.
alleges several violations of his civil rights occurring at
MDSP. In part, Brakeall's claims concern his large size
and the prison's failure to accommodate his size.
Brakeall also makes claims concerning his ability to practice
his religion and compliance with the Americans with
Disabilities Act, The facts as alleged in the complaint are:
and Unusual Punishment
stands 6' 9" tall. Id. ¶ 18. He has a
body mass index of 37.5 and is morbidly obese. Id.
Brakeall requires modifications to his bed to He flat.
Id. ¶ 19. In 1997, Brakeall was imprisoned at
the South Dakota State Penitentiary (SDSP). Id. At
that time, the Department of Corrections (DOC) extended a bed
for Brakeall and issued him an extra mattress, blankets, and
pillows. Id. ¶ 19. In 2000, Brakeall was
transferred to East Hall in SDSP where a second, customized
bed was made for him. Id. ¶ 20. Brakeall was
again issued additional mattresses and bedding. Id.
In 2005, Brakeall was transferred to the Jameson Prison
Annex. Id. ¶ 21. The staff was alerted to
Brakeall's size and they prepared a medical bed with a
one foot mattress extension. Id.
November 2014, Brakeall returned to the Jameson Prison Annex
on an alleged parole violation. Id. ¶ 22.
Brakeall informed staff that he was too tall to sleep in the
cells because the bunks are built across the 6' 5"
width of the cell. Id. Staff assigned Brakeall the
top bunk, which is approximately six feet off the ground.
Brakeall was unable to climb into his assigned bed and slept
on the floor for six weeks. Id. ¶ 24. Staff
witnessed Brakeall duck when going through doorways.
Id. ¶ 23. The Jameson Annex staff claimed to
have no record of Brakeall's height, weight or past
December of 2014, Brakeall was transferred to the East Hall
at the SDSP. Id. ¶ 24. East Hall staff also
claimed to have no record of Brakeall's height, weight or
past accommodations. Id. ¶ 25. East Hall also
claimed they did not have any orders to keep Brakeall on the
first floor, to assign him the bottom bunk, or provide him
extra bedding. Id. ¶ 25. Several days later,
Brakeall was transferred to the West Hall housing unit after
being assaulted. Id. ¶ 26, In West Hall,
Brakeall was assigned the middle bunk of a triple stack.
Id. The top bunk was approximately twenty inches
away from the middle bunk. Id. Brakeall regularly
bumped his head and shoulders on the upper bunk. Id.
parole was reinstated and he was transferred to the Community
Transition Program (CTP) at Unit C. Id. ¶ 27.
Brakeall was initially assigned the top bunk of a triple
stack, but he was allowed to move to a middle bunk and was
given additional bedding as a temporary extension.
December 2015, Brakeall was detained and placed in East Hall
with no height accommodations. Id. ¶ 28. In
February of 2016, Brakeall was transferred to West Hall after
a second and third assault. Id. In West Hall, Unit
Manager Keith Ditmanson provided Brakeall with an extra
January of 2016, Brakeall violated his parole and was
transferred to MDSP. Id. ¶ 29. At MDSP, he was
assigned to the West Crawford housing unit and Unit
Coordinator Britney Ulmer told Brakeall his bed would be
modified once he was transferred to a "permanent"
October of 2016, Brakeall was assigned the bottom bunk in
room 118. Id. ¶ 31. The bottom bunk is
approximately five inches off the floor. Id. Nine
months passed without any modifications to the bed.
Id. ¶ 32. Without modifications, Brakeall
"is forced to sleep with his feet pushed through the
cross bars at the bottom." Id. Additionally,
Brakeall's weight causes persistent hip and back pain,
which can be accommodated with a second mattress.
Id. The bed's close proximity to the floor
causes Brakeall constant knee and back pain. Id.
spoke to Unit Manager Josh Klimek about the modifications and
an extension. Id. ¶ 33. Klimek repeatedly
replied that "he's 'looking into it.' "
Id. ¶ 33. Brakeall also kited Klimek several
times but received no response. Id. ¶ 34.
Brakeall filed a grievance but received no response.
Id. ¶ 35. Brakeall signed up to see Klimek
during " 'open door' periods at least fifty
times in a past months and the only time he has seen Mr.
Klimek was in passing at his desk." Id. ¶
36. Kaemingk, Dooley, and Stanwick-Klemik supervise Josh
Klimek. Id. ¶ 107.
and Excessive Heat
MDSP is a former college designed and built in the 1950-60s.
Id. ¶ 49. Brakeall wrote to the Bon Homme
County zoning and planning for specific design capacity
information but received no response. Id. at fn. 1.
The rooms were originally designed to accommodate two people.
Id. Despite subsequent remodels, "the
fundamental two person structure remains." Id.
¶ 50. For example, "There are two desks, two
closets, two sets of storage drawers, one window, [and] one
fan." Id. Three inmates are housed in the rooms
and are expected to divide the use of space themselves.
Id. ¶ 51. In some areas, the DOC also destroyed
walls creating nine-man rooms, which causes trouble and
friction between inmates. Id. ¶ 52. Kaemingk,
Dooley, and DOC established these policies and practices at
MDSP. Id. at ¶ 110.
Crawford is a three-story building where each floor has three
shower heads, three toilets, three partition-less urinals,
and five sinks. Id. ¶ 53. There are
approximately 70 inmates per floor. Id. "The
shower heads are arranged so that two shower heads share the
same floor space. Id. If the plaintiff is using the
shower head on the east wall, the shower head on the south
wall sprays his thighs. Functionally, there are only two
shower heads on each floor.-" Id.
There are daily lines to use facilities. Id. ¶
54. The restrooms are cleaned once per day but it is
insufficient given the volume of use. Id.
Furthermore, rules prohibit using the facilities on a
different floor. Id.
first floor of West Crawford, the inmate changing area was
converted into a handicap shower. When the handicap shower is
occupied, the wheelchair blocks the door to the main shower
room. Id. ¶ 55. The handicap toilet is a stool
on the wall in front of the restroom door with no privacy.
Id. ¶ 57. Those passing by the hall can observe
any handicapped inmate using the facility. Id.
is no ventilation in West Crawford. When inmates shower, the
condensation on the ceiling drips on inmates using the
toilets, saturates the toilet paper, and wets the floor.
Id. ¶ 59. Black mold and mildew grow on the
shower ceilings. Id. The ceilings in the shower and
toilet area have to be stripped and repainted several times
each year due to the constant moisture and fungal growths.
Id. Brakeall's respiratory distress is worsened
by the mold and requires Brakeall to take medication.
laundry is insufficient to accommodate all of the laundry.
Id. ¶ 60. Inmate clothing, bedding, and linen
is returned still dirty and damp. Id. ¶ 60. The
prison previously issued white boxer underwear issued to
inmates. Id. The underwear was commonly stained with
urine and feces. Id. ¶ 61. The prison
frequently reissues used underwear. Id. The prison
now issues brown boxers to conceal the stains rather than fix
the laundry. Id.
September and November of 2016, Brakeall worked in the
laundry. Id. ¶ 106. The laundry is excessively
hot and humid. Id. Brakeall lost nearly thirty
pounds and suffered dizziness, shortness of breath, and
profusely sweated. Id. Dooley and the South Dakota
DOC maintain these cruel and inhumane conditions.
library time for inmates is twice per week for 45 minutes,
but it is frequently canceled. Id. ¶ 63. Due to
the library's capacity and lack of time, Brakeall must
sign up multiple times before he can go to the regular
library. Id. The regular library times conflict with
the law library hours, which forces inmates to choose.
Id. Stanwick-Klimek, KJimek, Kaemingk, Dooley, St.
Pierre, and DOC interfered with Brakeall's access to the
courts. Id. ¶ 113.
and West Crawford share a walking area and the residents must
take separate turns in the yard area. Id. ¶ 64.
Every other building at MDSP has its own yard and inmates are
allowed outside almost all day. Id. During the
summer, the heat makes the walking areas unusable during the
afternoon. Id. ¶ 65. West Crawford has the 2:30
to 4:00 pm time slot but inmates rarely go outside during
that time. Id. There is a shaded area with tables,
but inmates are not allowed to use it. Id.
East and West Crawford units were designed and built with air
conditioning but no other ventilation. Id. ¶
66. The air conditioning unit later broke and was unhooked.
Id. In 2010, the East and West Crawford heating
systems were rebuilt and new air handling units were
installed in each room with outside vents below the windows.
Id. ¶ 67. The first floor vents are six inches
above the soil. Id. The area below these vents
should be concrete or asphalt. Id. Insects crawl
through these vents into inmate rooms. Id. The vents
provide no air circulation. Id.
morbid obesity inhibits his body's ability to regulate
body temperature. Id. ¶ 68, "As a result
of the high heat indices in the building, the excessive heat
is damaging his internal organs due to their inability to
dissipate heat because of the fat layer." Id.
Brakeall sweats excessively and experiences severe cramps in
his legs and arms. Id. Brakeall has ...