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Charles Fountain v. Warden Frank Shaw

March 16, 2011

CHARLES FOUNTAIN
v.
WARDEN FRANK SHAW, ET AL.



Name of Assigned Judge JAMES B. ZAGEL Sitting Judge if Other or Magistrate Judge than Assigned Judge

CASE TITLE

(#B-34541)

DOCKET ENTRY TEXT:

Defendant Aguinaldo's motion to dismiss [#16] is granted. Aguinaldo is dismissed as a defendant pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6).

O [For further details see text below.]

Docketing to mail notices.

STATEMENT

The plaintiff, a state prisoner, has brought this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The plaintiff claims that the defendants, correctional officials, kitchen workers, and health care providers, violated the plaintiff's constitutional rights by subjecting him to inhumane conditions of confinement and by acting with deliberate indifference to his medical needs. More specifically, the plaintiff alleges that he was served contaminated food, that he became ill after seeing (or partially consuming) a rodent he found in his meal, and that he was denied needed medical attention for his adverse reaction. This matter is before the court for ruling on defendant Aguinaldo's motion to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim. For the reasons stated in this order, the motion is granted.

It is well established that pro se complaints are to be liberally construed. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972); Kaba v. Stepp, 458 F.3d 678, 681, 687 (7th Cir.2006). Rule 8(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires only "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief," in order to " 'give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.' " Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). To satisfy the notice pleading requirements of Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2), the plaintiff must only state his basic legal claim and provide "some indication . . . of time and place." Thompson v. Washington, 362 F.3d 969, 971 (7th Cir. 2004). While a complaint challenged by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds of his entitlement to relief requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do. Bell Atlantic Corp., 550 U.S. at 555 (citations omitted).

In addition, when considering whether to dismiss a complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, the court takes the allegations in the complaint as true, viewing all facts--as well as any inferences reasonably drawn therefrom--in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Marshall-Mosby v. Corporate Receivables, Inc., 205 F.3d 323, 326 (7th Cir. 2000); Bell Atlantic Corp., 550 U.S. at 563 (citing Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N.A., 534 U.S. 506, 514 (2002)). A well-pleaded complaint may proceed even if it appears "that actual proof of those facts is improbable, and that a recovery is very remote and unlikely." Bell Atlantic Corp., 550 U.S. at 556. Nevertheless, the factual allegations in the complaint must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level. Bell Atlantic Corp., 550 U.S. at 555. Furthermore, a plaintiff can plead himself or herself out of court by pleading facts that undermine the allegations set forth in the complaint. See, e.g., Whitlock v. Brown, 596 F.3d 406, 412 (7th Cir. 2010) (citations omitted): "A judicial admission trumps evidence. This is the basis of the principle that a plaintiff can plead himself out of court."

FACTS

The plaintiff is a state prisoner, confined at the Stateville Correctional Center at all times relevant to this action. Defendant Aguinaldo is a staff physician at Stateville.

The plaintiff alleges the following facts, which will be assumed true for purposes of this motion: On July 15, 2010, the plaintiff was eating his meal when he noticed a rat in the food. The plaintiff summoned correctional officers, one of whom directed that the plaintiff be given another tray of food, while another of whom accused the plaintiff of simply trying to get more food.

Eventually, the plaintiff was sent to the health care unit, where he had a consultation with Aguinaldo. Aguinaldo scolded the plaintiff for complaining and remarked that rodents are a delicacy in some countries. Aguinaldo merely gave the plaintiff a pill to coat his stomach. ...


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