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Jackson v. Spiller

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

July 29, 2014

COMMODORE JACKSON, No. R59842, and DARNELL CARRAWAY, No. B88079, Plaintiffs,
v.
SPILLER, NORMAN, GAETZ, T. BRYANT, IDOC FOOD SERVICES, C/O HICKS, and SGT. JOHN DOE, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

MICHAEL J. REAGAN, District Judge.

Plaintiffs Commodore Jackson and Darnell Carraway, inmates in Pontiac Correctional Center, bring this action for deprivations of their constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.[1] Jackson and Carraway, who were previously housed at Pinckneyville Correctional Center ("Pinckneyville"), take issue with the practice at Pinckneyville of serving brunch and dinner, rather than breakfast, lunch and dinner. They contend that the quantity and quality of the food served provided inadequate nutrition, particularly for inmates like Jackson, who are on lacto-ovo vegetarian diets for religious reasons.

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.

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). Frivolousness is an objective standard that refers to a claim that "no reasonable person could suppose to have any merit." Lee v. Clinton, 209 F.3d 1025, 1026-27 (7th Cir. 2000). 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, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). The claim of entitlement to relief must cross "the line between possibility and plausibility. Id. at 557. At this juncture, the factual allegations of the pro se complaint are to be liberally construed. See Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).

The Complaint

According to the complaint, beginning on August 12, 2013, inmates in segregation at Pinckneyville were served only brunch and dinner, rather than breakfast, lunch and dinner. Thus, they are denied "the most important meal of the day, " breakfast.

Citing the World Almanac Book of Facts, Plaintiffs assert that for adequate nutrition a sedentary individual needs a daily intake of 2, 400-2, 600 calories, but Assistant Warden Norman is of the mistaken belief that only 1, 800 calories are required. A detailed food diary is incorporated into the complaint, which Plaintiffs assert illustrates that segregation inmates are not receiving adequate nutrition-particularly inmates on special or restricted diets. In addition, the heavy reliance upon soy-based foods allegedly exacerbates nutrition and health problems. Plaintiff Jackson's situation is cited as an example. Jackson claims that the "brunch diet" has caused him to lose an unspecified but "massive" amount of weight, and led to depression.

Relative to the seven named defendants, the complaint specifically alleges that the IDOC Food Services Administrator is the author of the stingy brunch diet scheme and master menu that do not comply with federal nutritional requirements. Dietary Manager T. Bryant, who as a dietician know the risks of an inadequate diet, allegedly failed to notify inmates in advance that the brunch diet was going to be implemented, and then proceeded with the unhealthy diet. C/O Hicks was informed of the lack of "necessities, " but did nothing. It is also alleged that the "state/Department" failed to respond to grievances.

It is further alleged that Sgt. John Doe would deny inmates their meal if they were caught talking to their neighbors on the gallery before the 4:00 AM meal-which appears to be the former breakfast meal.

Plaintiffs characterize the imposition of the brunch diet as deliberate indifference to their health, in violation of their rights under the Eighth Amendment. They seek declaratory and injunctive relief, as well as compensatory and punitive damages. In terms of injunctive relief, Plaintiffs ask that the IDOC Food Services Administrator, Warden Spiller and Dietary Manager T. Bryant be permanently ...


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