(1979). This claim must therefore be dismissed.
2. Spoiled Food
Plaintiff alleges that "the food carts are filthy with spillage" and this spillage allows bacteria to grow and build up onto the food. Plaintiff also alleges that he has "discovered hair, wood, insects and other foreign objects" in his food, which is also "rarely hot and poorly prepared." Plaintiff further complains that his low cholestoral diet dinners are especially bad.
Most of the conditions plaintiff complains of do not pose a "substantial risk of serious harm." Farmer v. Brennan, 128 L. Ed. 2d 811, 114 S. Ct. 1970, 1977 (1994). "A well-balanced meal, containing sufficient nutritional value to preserve health, is all that is required." Lunsford v. Bennett, 17 F.3d 1574, 1580 (7th Cir. 1994) (citing Smith v. Sullivan, 553 F.2d 373, 380 (5th Cir. 1977)). Moreover, the Eighth Amendment is not violated so long as the food is prepared and served under conditions which do not present n immediate danger to the health or well-being of the inmates who consume it." French v. Owens, 777 F.2d 1250, 1255 (7th Cir. 1985), cert. denied, 479 U.S. 817, 107 S. Ct. 77, 93 L. Ed. 2d 32 (1986). In fact, one circuit court has held that food which contains foreign objects, while unpleasant, does not amount to a constitutional deprivation. Hamm v. DeKalb County, 774 F.2d 1567, 1575 (11th Cir. 1985), cert. denied, 475 U.S. 1096, 106 S. Ct. 1492, 89 L. Ed. 2d 894 (1986).
Despite these stringent standards, this Court finds that the provision of vermin infested food certainly rises to the level of a constitutional infraction. The issue, therefore, turns on whether the defendants subjectively knew of these conditions. Plaintiff does not allege that he filed a grievance or that he personally informed the defendants of these conditions. Nonetheless, plaintiff does indicate that the defendants are "responsible" for the policy regarding all the conditions alleged in the complaint. The question is whether this allegation is sufficient to infer deliberate indifference on the part of defendants with respect to the allegedly vermin infested food.
Although it is clear that the conditions alleged by plaintiff pose "a substantial risk of serious harm" to plaintiff, the legal standards set out in Farmer require factual allegations raising an inference that the defendants were deliberately indifferent to the fact that food was routinely prepared which contained vermin. In other words, to state a claim under the Eighth Amendment, plaintiff would need to allege that food was routinely served which contained vermin and that plaintiff complained about this situation to the defendants, who did nothing about it. Without this allegation, plaintiff's claim has nothing to distinguish it from incidents of negligence which can occur even at certain restaurants in downtown Chicago. Although one would expect higher standards at such a restaurant, "inmates cannot expect the conveniences and services of a good hotel." Harris v. Fleming, 839 F.2d 1232, 1235 (1988). Furthermore, the Supreme Court has recognized that "lawful incarceration brings about the necessary withdrawl or limitation of many privileges and rights, a retraction justified by the consideration underlying our penal system." Price v. Johnston, 334 U.S. 266, 285, 92 L. Ed. 1356, 68 S. Ct. 1049 (1948). Having failed to satisfy the test for establishing deliberate indifference, plaintiff's claim must be dismissed.
3. Unsanitary Conditions
Plaintiff alleges that he is forced to stay in an unsanitary, germ and bacteria filled environment and does not "get the necessary cleaning supplies to properly clean the place up." Plaintiff also claims that the showers are filthy and clogged up. Although these conditions are not optimal, only a "minimal level of cleanliness and sanitation for the health and safety of the prisoners is required." Lunsford v. Bennett, 17 F.3d 1574, 1580 (7th Cir. 1994); Lightfoot v. Walker, 486 F. Supp. 504 (S.D. Ill. 1980). Moreover, plaintiff has not alleged that the defendants created or maintained these conditions for the purpose of punishment. Farmer v. Brennan, 128 L. Ed. 2d 811, 114 S. Ct. 1970, 1979 (1994)(the "Eighth Amendment does not outlaw cruel and unusual conditions'; it outlaws cruel and unusual 'punishments.'"). Without such allegations, the Court must conclude that the conditions plaintiff complains of are the inevitable effects of overcrowding. See Rhodes v. Chapman, 452 U.S. 337, 349, 69 L. Ed. 2d 59, 101 S. Ct. 2392 (1981).
Even if these conditions, in combination,
rise to the level of a serious deprivation of basic human needs which would likely result in physical harm, if the conditions of confinement result from overcrowding and do not represent deliberate or reckless conduct on behalf of the defendant, the conditions do not violate the Constitution.
3. Individual Capacity
Even if the allegations pled by the plaintiff are sufficient to satisfy the "constitutional magnitude" standard, plaintiff would still need to show that the defendants either directly participated in the alleged wrongdoing, Wolf-Lillie v. Sonquist, 699 F.2d 864, 869 (7th Cir. 1983) (a government official may not be liable in his individual capacity unless he caused or participated in the alleged wrongdoing); McBride v. Soos, 679 F.2d 1223, 1227 (7th Cir. 1982) (same), or had knowledge of the plaintiff's conditions and were "deliberately indifferent" to the problems alleged. Wilson v. Seiter, 501 U.S. 294, 111 S. Ct. 2321, 2326-2327, 115 L. Ed. 2d 271 (1991). See also Dziadkowiec v. Fairman, 1993 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12961, *7 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 15, 1993).
In addition, a plaintiff must establish some affirmative link between the acts or omissions of the government official and the plaintiff's alleged injury to render the official liable in his individual capacity. Wolf-Lillie, 699 F.2d at 869. Plaintiff has failed to show that the defendants knew of plaintiff's alleged situation, let alone that any one of these defendants were deliberately indifferent to his constitutional rights. At most, plaintiff merely claims that he filed a grievance requesting to speak to the paramedic concerning his medication and diet and that he did not obtain a response. This allegation, by itself, is not a sufficient basis from which the court may infer that defendants knew of and disregarded an excessive risk to inmate health and safety. See Del Raine, 32 F.3d at 1051 (citing Jackson v. Duckworth, 955 F.2d 21, 22 (7th Cir. 1992); Wilson, 111 S. Ct. at 2325). Moreover, an officer's failure to alleviate a significant risk that he should have perceived, but actually did not, cannot be condemned as the infliction of punishment. Farmer, 114 S. Ct. at 1979. In addition, this allegation does not establish an affirmative link between the alleged injuries caused by the purported violations and the acts or omissions of the individual defendants.
Thus, plaintiff's allegations regarding the conditions in the CCDOC do not state an Eighth Amendment claim.
4. Official Capacity
Claims against government officers in their official capacity are actually claims against the government entity for which the officers work. Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159, 167, 87 L. Ed. 2d 114, 105 S. Ct. 3099 (1985). Claims for money damages which are asserted against government officials in their official capacity are considered to be suits against the government entity that employs the officer. The State is not a "person" that can be sued under § 1983, Will v. Michigan Dept. of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 105 L. Ed. 2d 45, 109 S. Ct. 2304 (1989). Municipalities and other local subdivisions of the state, however, are considered persons for purposes of suit under § 1983. Monell v. Department of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 56 L. Ed. 2d 611, 98 S. Ct. 2018 (1978). In cases involving state rather than municipal or local officials, a local policy or custom must be proven to establish liability. Brandon v. Holt, 469 U.S. 464, 83 L. Ed. 2d 878, 105 S. Ct. 873 (1985). In no case is respondeat superior a recognized theory under § 1983. Monell, 436 U.S. at 691. Therefore, in order for a plaintiff to succeed on an official capacity claim under § 1983, the plaintiff must allege that the action alleged to be under color of state law, caused the deprivation of a federal right and can be definitively linked to the governmental entity's policy or custom. Graham, 473 U.S. at 166; Monell, 436 U.S. at 694. See also Hill v. Shelander, 924 F.2d 1370, 1372 (7th Cir. 1991). Where there is no formal written policy, a showing of a pattern of custom of unconstitutional conduct will suffice. Powe v. City of Chicago, 664 F.2d 639, 650 (7th Cir. 1981). To establish a government policy or custom, the plaintiff must allege a specific pattern or series of incidents that support the general allegation of a custom or policy. Henry v. Farmer City State Bank, 808 F.2d 1228, 1237 (7th Cir. 1986). One allegation of unconstitutional conduct does not show that a policy, practice or custom exists. City of Oklahoma v. Tuttle, 471 U.S. 808, 822, 823, 85 L. Ed. 2d 791, 105 S. Ct. 2427 (1985). Thus, acts by individual supervisory employees are not automatically indicia of policy or established practice. Gray v. County of Dane, 854 F.2d 179, 184 (7th Cir. 1988).
Plaintiff fails to point to any conduct by the defendants approving or condoning any policy or regulation that promoted inmates living in overcrowded, or unsanitary conditions. Furthermore, the plaintiff does not allege that any of the defendants were personally involved in the overcrowded or unsanitary conditions of the CCDOC. Nor does the plaintiff allege a pattern of conduct by the supervisors not to receive adequate medical attention, or to live in unsanitary conditions. Plaintiff merely alleges that the supervisors' failure to deal with the overcrowding problem constitutes a decision or a custom.
These vague and conclusory allegations do not state a claim under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6).
Weighing all of the facts in the pleadings together and not simply viewing each incident in isolation, plaintiff has not adequately stated a claim from a violation of his constitutional rights. Even under the liberal standards applicable to pro se claimants, plaintiff has failed to allege sufficient facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief. Therefore, defendants' Motion to Dismiss is granted. The Clerk of the Court is directed to dismiss plaintiff's Complaint with prejudice. This case is terminated. Each party is to bear their own costs.
United States District Judge
April 25, 1995.