United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
WAVERLY D. CRENSHAW, JR. CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is a Report and Recommendation (Doc. No. 44) from
the Magistrate Judge, in which she recommends that the Court
grant the Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc.
No. 35). No. objections have been filed.
Court agrees with the Magistrate Judge's analysis on
Plaintiff's First Amendment claim. There is no evidence
that the Religious Practices Plan violated constitutional
standards or that the individual Defendants infringed upon
Plaintiffs' First Amendment rights. Accordingly, there is
no evidence upon which a reasonable jury could find that
Plaintiffs' were denied the ability to practice their
religious beliefs at the Robertson County Detention Center
(“RCDC”). The Court also concurs with the
Magistrate Judge's conclusion on the Eighth Amendment
claim. The undisputed facts are that most unrestricted
inmates at the RCDC are provided with many hours a day of
time outside their cells in an indoors recreation area that
receives some degree of sunlight. Plaintiffs were not
confined to their cells for long periods of time with no
opportunity for exercise. And there is little - if any -
evidence of any negative impact on Plaintiffs' health
from being required to exercise indoors. Under the current
state of the law, Plaintiffs cannot prevail.
this Court must state its concern about certain aspects of
this case. While the Plaintiffs had many hours of day for
indoor recreation, they - undisputedly - had virtually
no outside recreation per year. The record reveals
that Plaintiff Kizer was given outside recreation
only four times in five
years. (Doc. No. 36-1 at 5.) Plaintiff Maidlow
never went outside for recreation in approximately
one year. (Id.) Plaintiff Greer has gone
outside for recreation once since his incarceration
in 2016. (Id.) While the dormitory side of the RCDC
has a recreation room with windows, the pod side's
recreation room doesn't even have that much (rather, the
RCDC “pipes in” sunlight via a “daylighting
system.”) (Id. at 4.)
Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, applying Supreme Court
precedent, has recognized that outdoor recreation,
in some undefined form and amount, is necessary for
inmates' well-being, ” Jones v. Stine, 843
F.Supp. 1186, 1193 (W.D. Mich.1994) (emphasis added) (citing
Walker v. Mintzes, 771 F.2d 920, 927-28 (6th Cir.
1985)). However, there is no applicable precedent requiring
any minimum amount of outdoor recreation for prisoners.
See Argue v. Hofmeyer, 80 Fed.Appx. 427, 430 (6th
Cir. 2003) (observing that the Sixth Circuit has never set a
minimum amount of outdoor time for inmates). The Sixth
Circuit has held simply that “‘a total or
near-total deprivation of exercise or recreational
opportunity, without penological justification, '”
impinges on an inmate's Eighth Amendment right, because
“‘[i]nmates require regular exercise to maintain
reasonably good physical and psychological
health.'” Rodgers v. Jabe, 43 F.3d 1082,
1086 (6th Cir. 1995) (quoting Patterson v. Mintzes,
717 F.2d 284, 289 (6th Cir. 1983)). As a result, this court
and others in this circuit have dismissed numerous claims
related to lack of outdoor recreation. See, e.g.,
Lyle v. Tenn. Dep't of Corr., No. 3:16-cv-01441,
2016 WL 3460256, at *2 (M.D. Tenn. June 24, 2016)
(“Because Plaintiff acknowledges that he has some
opportunity to engage in recreation or exercise several days
a week, and does not allege that the limitations on that
opportunity have caused him to suffer any adverse effects,
his allegations about recreation fail to state a claim for
which relief can be granted.”); Anderson v.
Rutherford Cnty. Jail, No. 3:15-CV-01016, 2015 WL
7283165, at *3 (M.D. Tenn. Nov. 16, 2015) (dismissing claim
of lack of outdoor recreation or sunlight where “the
plaintiff does not claim that he is denied all opportunity
for recreation or physical activity sufficient to maintain
reasonably good health, nor does he allege any detriment to
his health resulting from being required to exercise indoors
rather than outdoors”); Park v. Morgan, No.
1:15-cv-182, 2015 WL 1637168, at *2-3 (S.D. Ohio April 10,
2015) (dismissing claim that 60-day recreation restriction,
preventing plaintiff from receiving fresh air or sunlight,
violated Eighth Amendment); Clayton v. Lancia, No.
3:09CV-P294-H, 2009 WL 4928033, at *2 (W.D. Ky. Dec.14, 2009)
(dismissing prisoner's Eighth Amendment claim alleging
the deprivation of “sunlight and fresh air”
during a period of four-month recreational restriction
prohibiting outdoor exercise); see also Pastorious v.
Romer, No. 96-1126, 1996 WL 528359, at *1 (10th Cir.
Sept. 17, 1996) (affirming the district court's dismissal
of an action as frivolous where the inmate alleged he was
denied fresh air and direct sunlight); Richard v.
Reed, 49 F.Supp.2d 485, 487 (E.D. Va. 1999) (dismissing
prisoner's complaint that he did not get any direct
exposure to sunlight because of prison's requirement that
all recreational and other activities take place indoors),
aff'd, No. 6783, 1999 WL 651846 (4th Cir. Aug.
of this area of the law by Sixth Circuit would be of
assistance - particularly in a situation when indoor exercise
is available but outside exercise is almost entirely
unavailable. To that end, any in forma pauperis
appeal taken from this decision would be in good faith. 29
Report and Recommendation (Doc. No. 44) is APPROVED
AND ADOPTED. The Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc.
No. 35) is GRANTED and this case is
dismissed. The Clerk shall enter judgment pursuant to the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and close the file.
 Defendants maintain that Kizer also
turned down outdoor recreation on five occasions in those
five years. (Doc. No. 36-1.)
 Defendants maintain that Maidlow
turned down outdoor recreation on one occasion in that
approximate one ...