LANGUAGE

Nwanze v. Philip Morris

A group of 450 pro se prisoners sued tobacco manufacturers and the Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons for excessive exposure to environmental tobacco smoke ("ETS") while incarcerated.  The Defendants made a F.R.C.P. 12(b)(6) motion for failure to state a claim, which was granted.  While the Court acknowledged that actions against the State for violations of 8th amendment rights based upon ETS exposure were "relatively familiar and well-settled," citing numerous precedents, the Court noted that this case was targeting the manufacturers of tobacco products as opposed to the prison officials or prison policies.  Instead, the Plaintiffs alleged that the tobacco industry conspired with the Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons "to sell as many cigarettes as possible to the federal prisoner population."  Calling the allegations "too conclusory and insubstantial to be sustainable," the Court dismissed the case.  Furthermore, the Court noted that it had no jurisdiction over the Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, and thus dismissed the case against her.  However, the court did note that "Plaintiffs have presented a compelling portrait that federal prisons are permeated with Tobacco Smoke" and noted that Plaintiffs could re-file a new complaint that met their jurisdiction and pleading requirements.