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Jarvis Lamar Postlewaite, No. R25461 v. Coe

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

January 14, 2015

JARVIS LAMAR POSTLEWAITE, No. R25461, Plaintiff,
v.
JOHN COE, and MR. DENSMORE, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

MICHAEL J. REAGAN, Chief District Judge.

Plaintiff Jarvis Lamar Postlewaite, an inmate in Lawrence Correctional Center, initiated a civil rights action in August 2014, Case No. 14-cv-930-JPG. His original complaint failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted and was dismissed without prejudice. Plaintiff amended complaint similarly missed the mark. A second amended complaint presented two colorable constitutional claims, but those claims were severed into separate cases in accordance with George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605, 607 (7th Cir. 2007). Count 5 in Case No. 14-cv-930-JPG formed the basis for this present action, Case No. 14-cv-1365-MJR, alleging:

Knowing that Plaintiff was allergic to tomatoes, Dr. John Coe failed to issue an order directing the Dietary Department to not serve Plaintiff tomatoes, in violation of the Eighth Amendment.

Plaintiff was given an opportunity to opt out of this severed case, but he elected to proceed. His amended complaint (Doc. 4) now controls. Plaintiff has added an Eighth Amendment claim against Dietary Supervisor Densmore. The amended complaint (Doc. 4) is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the pleading pursuant to 28 U.S.C. ยง 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 Amended Complaint

According to the amended complaint, Plaintiff Postlewaite's medical records have long indicated that he is allergic to tomatoes. However, when Plaintiff arrived at Lawrence Correctional Center he was denied a special diet that accommodated his tomato allergy. Dietary Supervisor Densmore denied Plaintiff's request for a special diet, explaining that a special diet would not be provided until Plaintiff produced a record from "medical" showing that he is allergic to tomatoes.

According to the amended complaint, Dr. John Coe suggested Plaintiff just not eat foods that are served that contain tomatoes. Consequently, Plaintiff went without a proper diet for three months until the warden intervened and ensured Plaintiff received a special diet.

Although a special diet has been authorized for Plaintiff, he contends that the meal trays he is receiving do not contain adequate nutrition and calories. Plaintiff asserts that he is being given nutritionally deficient food trays by "dietary supervisors" in ...


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