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Widmer v. Hodge

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

April 24, 2015

MARCUS HODGE, and LINGLE, Defendants.


STEPHEN C. WILLIAMS, Magistrate Judge.

Introduction and Procedural Background

Plaintiff Michael Widmer, currently released on parole, filed this case in December 2012 alleging a plethora of injuries due to unconstitutional conduct at Lawrence Correctional Center. (Doc. 1). At screening, the Court determined that Plaintiff had stated a claim for unconstitutional conditions of confinement based on his allegations that he was not provided a diet sufficient to prevent weight loss and symptoms of malnutrition. (Doc. 1, p. 4). However, the Court also determined that this claim was not related to Plaintiff's other counts and severed this claim into a new action on January 8, 2013. (Doc. 1). The case comes before the Court on Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment. (Doc. 54).

Defendants filed the present motion on November 19, 2014. (Doc. 54). After seeking an extension of time, Plaintiff filed Response on January 21, 2015. (Doc. 60). At that time, Plaintiff also moved for an oral hearing on the motion. (Doc. 61). Because the Court has determined that no hearing is necessary, Plaintiff's Motion is DENIED. (Doc. 61). No reply was filed, making this Motion ripe for disposition. For the following reasons, the Court GRANTS the motion for summary judgment.


IDOC housed Plaintiff at Lawrence Correctional Center ("Lawrence") from June 2012 until June 2013. (Doc. 57-1, p. 5). During that time, Plaintiff went on a writ to Stateville Correctional Center from July 25, 2012 until September 12, 2012. (Doc. 57-1, p. 6). While on the writ at Stateville, Plaintiff went on a hunger strike that lasted 10-11 days. (Doc. 57-1, p. 25). Plaintiff believes that he lost approximately 25 to 30 pounds as a result of this hunger strike. (Doc. 57-1, p. 26). His hair fell out as a result of the hunger strike. (Doc. 57-1, p. 26-27). Plaintiff testified that he felt better after coming off his hunger strike approximately two weeks after returning to Lawrence. (Doc. 57-1, p. 26). Plaintiff resided in the segregation unit of Lawrence during the relevant time periods. (Doc. 57-1, p. 6).

Plaintiff sued Marc Hodge, the warden of Lawrence, because he informed him many times that his meal portions were inadequate. (Doc. 57-1, p. 7). Plaintiff specifically told Hodge that he had compared the portions of his breakfast tray with the portions specified on the IDOC master menu and found them lacking. (Doc. 57-1, p. 8). Hodge recalls speaking to Plaintiff on two occasions, but does not believe that either of those occasions addressed Plaintiff's dietary complaints. (Doc. 57-3, p. 15). The longest conversation Hodge had with Plaintiff addressed discipline Plaintiff received after attempting to contact someone on his no-contact list. (Doc. 57-3, p. 14-15). Plaintiff also sued Brian Lingle as the dietary supervisor at Lawrence. (Doc. 57-1, p. 14-15). Plaintiff alleges that Lingle oversaw preparation of the breakfast trays. (Doc. 57-1, p. 15).

Plaintiff alleges that the breakfast trays had inadequate volume during the relevant time period. (Doc. 57-1, p. 16). He found the lunch and dinner trays close enough to the IDOC master menu to warrant no complaints. (Doc. 57-1, p. 16). Plaintiff determined whether his trays were adequate or not by taking his milk carton or spoon and measuring the portions served, writing down these measurements, and then comparing the measurements to the IDOC master menu. (Doc. 57-1, p. 16). Plaintiff's milk carton is approximately 8 ounces. (Doc. 57-1, p. 17). He would use the provided spoon to scope portions into his milk carton to determine how many ounces each portion had. (Doc. 57-1, p. 17). Plaintiff drew lines on his milk carton to approximate 2, 4, and 6 ounce levels. (Doc. 57-1, p. 18). He drew these lines measuring from the top of the carton. (Doc. 57-1, p. 18). If the portion was measured in teaspoons, he would request a teaspoon, although he believes the plastic teaspoons may be smaller than an actual teaspoon. (Doc. 57-1, p. 17).

Plaintiff also testified that he wrote to the manufacturer of the trays and found out the portion sizes of the Styrofoam trays. (Doc. 57-1, p. 29-30). He could then determine, from looking at the sections and checking to see that they were full, if the portions on the tray were adequate. (Doc. 57-1, p. 29-30).

Plaintiff testified that on some days, he received approximately one teaspoon of scrambled eggs for his breakfast. (Doc. 57-1, p. 17). He testified that if the master menu called for three pancakes, he would only receive two. (Doc. 57-1, p. 19). He never received three pancakes. (Doc. 57-1, p. 19). If the master menu called for four ounces of oatmeal, Plaintiff would receive an ounce. (Doc. 57-1, p. 19). Plaintiff alleges that the portions of cereal, oatmeal, rice, cracked wheat, and scrambled eggs were consistently off. (Doc. 57-1, p. 20). Plaintiff believes that approximately 1 tray a week had the correct portions. (Doc. 57-1. p. 18). If the menu called for hard boiled eggs, he would get the correct number of eggs. (Doc. 57-1, p. 20). Plaintiff also testified that he became angry enough to file a federal lawsuit not because he was hungry and required large portions, but because the portions were so clearly inadequate. (Doc. 57-1, p. 18). Plaintiff complained of hair loss in his Complaint; he attributes the hair loss to the stress of having a negative emotional reaction to seeing an inadequate tray. (Doc. 57-1, p. 23).

Plaintiff testified that in December 2012, he went on a kosher diet. He further testified that at that time, Lingle approached him and told him that his kosher breakfast trays would have the right portions. (Doc. 57-1, p. 33). Plaintiff testified that he did not have any problems with his kosher breakfast trays. (Doc. 57-1, p. 33). Lingle has no recollection of Plaintiff or any occasion where he spoke with Plaintiff. (Doc. 57-2, p. 13).

Lingle has been a food service supervisor for 10 years. (Doc. 57-2, p. 3). He monitors food preparation, service, and sanitation. (Doc. 57-2, p. 3). Inmates prepare the food. (Doc. 57-2, p. 3). Lingle testified that until four years ago, two supervisors worked the breakfast shift. (Doc. 57-2, p.

4). However, a supervisor named Rich Gordon felt that requirement interfered with his ability to take time off, and so management changed the requirement to 1 supervisor on breakfast shift. (Doc. 57-2, p. 4).

Lingle works the overnight shift, which prepares and serves the breakfast meal, makes desserts for lunch and dinner, and starts lunch preparation. (Doc. 57-2, p. 4). The state dietician determines that the meals served are nutritionally adequate; Lingle follows her master menu. (Doc. 57-2, p. 4). He receives copy of the upcoming week's master menu on Saturday. (Doc. 57-2, p. 7). Rick Densmore, the supervisor, orders supplies for the kitchen area, including the food. (Doc. 57-2. p. 7). As part of his job, Lingle prepares a sample tray for the inmate workers to demonstrate portion size. (Doc. 57-2, p. 17). If there is not enough food to fulfill a certain portion, Lingle may make substitutions. (Doc. 57-2, p. ...

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