Warren v. Keane

Three New York State prison inmates sued prison officials for violating their Eighth Amendment rights against cruel and unusual punishment by exposing them to unreasonably dangerous levels of secondhand smoke. The court ruled that the prisoners’ lawsuit could continue because a fact-finder could conclude that the inmates were exposed to unreasonably high levels of secondhand smoke. Additionally, the court said that a rational fact-finder could conclude that prison officials were on notice as to the dangers of secondhand smoke based on information such as the U.S. Surgeon General’s 1986 report. The court also found that the prison officials were not eligible for qualified immunity because their conduct could be seen to have violated clearly established rights.


Warren v. Keane, 937 F. Supp. 301 (S.D.N.Y. 1996).

  • United States
  • Sep 10, 1996
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District New York



  • John Murray
  • Tyrone Benton
  • Vince Warren


  • Brent Kehn, Deputy Superintendent
  • Charles Greiner, Deputy Superintendent
  • J. Burt, Corrections Officer
  • John P. Keane, Superintendent
  • Noel Morris, Fire and Safety Officer
  • Thomas A. Coughlin, 3rd Commissioner of Corrections

Legislation Cited

Related Documents

Type of Litigation

Tobacco Control Topics

Substantive Issues


Type of Tobacco Product