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Thomas v. Davis

October 20, 2010

CORNELIUS THOMAS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
WARDEN DAVIS, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Herndon, District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Plaintiff, an inmate at the Pinckneyville Correctional Center, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff seeks declaratory, injunctive, and monetary relief for alleged deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs. This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which provides:

(a) Screening.-- The court shall review, before docketing, if feasible or, in any event, as soon as practicable after docketing, a complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity.

(b) Grounds for Dismissal.-- On review, the court shall identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint--

(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or

(2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.

28 U.S.C. § 1915A.

An action or claim is frivolous if "it lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact." Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). An action fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted if it does not plead "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 590 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). A complaint is plausible on its face "when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009). Although the Court is obligated to accept factual allegations as true, some factual allegations may be so sketchy or implausible that they fail to provide sufficient notice of a plaintiff's claim. Brooks v. Ross, 578 F.3d 574, 581 (7th Cir. 2009). Additionally, Courts "should not accept as adequate abstract recitations of the elements of a cause of action or conclusory legal statements." Id. At the same time, however, the factual allegations of a pro se complaint are to be liberally construed. Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Service, 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).

THE COMPLAINT

Plaintiff alleges that in January 2003, then Governor Rod Blagojevich directed the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) to begin serving Illinois inmates "a diet largely based on processed soy protein, with very little meat." Plaintiff asserts that Defendant Blagojevich did this for two reasons: (1) to save money and (2) as a political payback for Archers Daniel Midland, which is alleged to have been a political supporter of Defendant Blagojevich, and the primary supplier of soy products to the IDOC.

It appears that Plaintiff became incarcerated in the IDOC in May 2008.*fn1 Plaintiff asserts that as a result of eating the above diet, he suffers from "debilitating [and] chronic symptoms" which he claims are associated with a "soy allergy" and caused by a "massive soy product intake." Complaint, pg.3, ¶ 10; and pg. 6. These symptoms are alleged to be: chronic painful constipation alternating with debilitating diarrhea, vomiting after eating, sharp pains in the digestive tract . . .passing out, heart palpitations, rashes, acne, insomnia, panic attacks, depression and symptoms of hypothyroidism, such as low body temperature (feeling cold all the time), brain fog, fatigue, weight gain, frequent infections [and] enlarged thyroid.

Complaint, pg. 2, ¶ 5. In addition to the present adverse health effects of eating the above diet, Plaintiff further asserts that "since soy contains anti-fertility compounds, many young prisoners may be unable to father children after their release [from prison]."

Plaintiff asserts that he has sent letters and grievances to Defendants Quinn and Randle concerning his problems with the soy diet, but either they did not respond to his grievances or, alternatively, those grievances and letters were destroyed by unknown mail staff (Defendants John and Jane Does). Plaintiff additionally asserts that Defendant Quinn "was made aware of the soy poisoning by the case of Harris et al. v. Brown et al., Case No. 3:07-cv-03225 in the US District Court for the Central District of Illinois."

Plaintiff claims that Defendant Davis, Warden at Pinckneyville, has not "properly supervis[ed] the staff at Pinckneyville." Attachment to Complaint (Letter to Attorney General's Office), pg. 1. Plaintiff further asserts that Defendant Fenton, Health Care Administrator, has wanton[ly] and blatant[ly] . . . disregarded" his medical needs and "fail[ed] to give [Plaintiff]a soy-free diet [and] to test the soy levels in [Plaintiff's] body." Id. Defendant Sheppard, a doctor at Pinckneyville, is sued for "maliciously [and] intentionally ...


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