United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
STACI M. YANDLE, District Judge.
Plaintiff, currently incarcerated at Pinkneyville Correctional Center ("Pinkneyville"), has brought this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He also alleges a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12132. Plaintiff claims that Defendants have been deliberately indifferent to his medical and dietary needs. Specifically, they have failed to provide him with adequate food at the times he must take medications, which causes him pain. Further, he has lost weight because of the inadequate diet plan, and has suffered several serious medical problems due to the soy content of the prison food.
In the complaint, Plaintiff states that he has been housed at several prisons since his conviction in 2002 (Doc. 1, p. 6). He has been taking at least four prescription medications during this time (Rameron, Depakote, Trazeldon, and Buspar), and each of these is directed to be taken with food or milk (Doc. 1, pp. 6, 14). So long as Plaintiff was receiving three meals per day, he had no problems with taking his medications. However, in April 2014, Defendants Spiller (Pinckneyville Warden) and others decided to stop serving breakfast at Pinckneyville. After the last meal of the day is served, inmates must wait about 15 to 17 hours before they receive their first meal on the following day (Doc. 1, p. 14). Plaintiff must now take his morning medications without any food, and suffers from extreme stomach pain as a result. Plaintiff also claims that the no-breakfast meal plan has caused him to lose weight. Plaintiff complained to Defendants Spiller and Doctor Shah about the new meal policy and its effects on him, but he was ignored. He filed grievances, but got no response.
Plaintiff's second claim is that Defendants Spiller, Bates (Deputy Director of the Illinois Department of Corrections - "IDOC"), Bailey (Pinckneyville Food Service Administrator), Godinez (Director of the IDOC), Shah, Wexford Health Sources, Pinckneyville, and the Illinois Department of Corrections ("IDOC") conspired to violate his rights when they began feeding him soy-based foods in 98% of the meals. Because of his long-term consumption of soy, Plaintiff has developed headaches, severe and painful constipation, stomach and intestinal pain, and a large mass on or around his thyroid. The ongoing constipation led to a torn anus that required surgical repair (Doc. 1, pp. 7-8, 13). Plaintiff complained to Defendants Spiller, Shah, Bates, and Bailey, about these effects of the soy in his diet, but received no response. His numerous grievances have gone unanswered. When Plaintiff talked to Defendant Shah about the mass in his thyroid area, Defendant Shah told Plaintiff to stop eating so much, and that soy was good for him.
In an attached affidavit, Plaintiff touches on a number of other complaints, including retaliatory cell shakedowns, destruction of personal property and legal mail, false disciplinary reports, lack of access to exercise areas, extortion of inmates, and harassment (Doc. 1, pp. 13-16). However, he did not include these matters in the statement of claim within his complaint, nor does he claim that any of the named Defendants were responsible for these alleged violations.
Plaintiff requests compensatory and punitive damages (Doc. 1, p. 9).
Merits Review Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A
Under § 1915A, the Court is required to conduct a prompt threshold review of the complaint, and to dismiss any claims that are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim on which relief may be granted, or seek monetary relief from an immune defendant.
Accepting Plaintiff's allegations as true, the Court finds that Plaintiff has articulated the following colorable federal causes of action, which shall receive further review:
Count 1: Eighth Amendment claim against Defendants Spiller and Shah, for deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's medical need to be given food or milk to take with his morning medications;
Count 2: Eighth Amendment claim against Defendants Spiller, Shah, Bates, and Bailey, for deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's need for a non-soy diet in light of the serious physical symptoms he has experienced from his consumption of soy-based foods.
However, Plaintiff has failed to state a claim upon which relief may be granted on his claim of conspiracy (Count 3), or violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (Count 4). Those claims shall be dismissed, as shall the remaining Defendants.
Further, all additional potential claims mentioned in Plaintiff's affidavit (Doc. 1, pp. 13-16) are too vague and conclusory to survive review under § 1915A. See Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007) (a complaint 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"); Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (a complaint is plausible on its face "when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the ...