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Smith v. Peters, 10-1013

By FindLaw Staff on January 19, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019
Prisoner's civil rights suit

Smith v. Peters, 10-1013, concerned a challenge to the district court's dismissal of the suit for failure to state a claim, in a prisoner's civil rights suit claiming that prison employees violated the Eighth Amendment by forcing him to work at hard labor in dangerous conditions and had violated the First Amendment by penalizing him for questioning the propriety of the work assignment and preparing to sue.

In reversing and remanding, the court held that defendant's allegations of the complaint for violation the Eighth Amendment are sufficient to preclude dismissal for failure to state a claim as failure to provide a prisoner required to work out of doors with minimal protective clothing, including gloves can violate the Eighth Amendment.  The court also held that the district court erred in failing to address the First Amendment claim as, if the facts alleged in the complaint are true, he was punished for complaining about mistreatment, and such punishment is an infringement of the free speech rights of prison inmates.

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