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Godfrey v. Cantina Food Services

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

May 20, 2015

CHARLES GODFREY, #K-56662, Plaintiff,
v.
CANTINA FOOD SERVICES, TY BATES, SUZANN BAILEY, and THOMAS SPILLER, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

STACI M. YANDLE, District Judge.

Plaintiff Charles Godfrey, an inmate who is currently incarcerated at Pinckneyville Correctional Center ("Pinckneyville"), brings this pro se action for alleged violations of his constitutional rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq. (Doc. 1). Plaintiff claims that the Illinois Department of Corrections' ("IDOC") soy-based diet for prisoners violates his rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. He also claims that Pinckneyville's "two-meal-per-day" policy violates his rights under the Eighth Amendment, Fourteenth Amendment, and ADA. In connection with these claims, Plaintiff sues Cantina Food Services ("Cantina"), Ty Bates (IDOC deputy director), Suzann Bailey (IDOC food services administrator), and Thomas Spiller (Pinckneyville warden) for monetary damages.

This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Under Section 1915A, the Court is required to promptly screen prisoner complaints to filter out nonmeritorious claims. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court is required to dismiss any portion of the complaint that is legally frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or asks for money damages from a defendant who by law is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b). The complaint survives preliminary review under this standard.

The Complaint

Plaintiff brings two sets of claims in his complaint. The first arises from the soy diet that Plaintiff has received since entering the IDOC in 2012. The second arises from Pinckneyville's "two-meal-per-day" policy. Each set of claims is separately addressed below.

Soy Diet

Plaintiff claims that Defendants conspired to violate his Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights by serving him a diet that is high in soy (Doc. 1, p. 5). According to the complaint, more than ninety percent of the IDOC's prison diet consists of soy products. Plaintiff has received this diet since 2012.

He associates the soy diet with several health problems. Since June 2013, Plaintiff has suffered regular bouts of severe stomach pain and constipation that last up to four days at a time. His requests for medical attention have been denied. Plaintiff has directed numerous grievances to Defendants. In them, he describes the unaddressed medical issues that he associates with the soy diet. Defendants have not responded to Plaintiff's grievances.

Plaintiff now sues all four Defendants for violating his rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments (Doc. 1, pp. 5, 7). He also brings a conspiracy claim against Defendants Cantina ("Cantina"), Bates, and Bailey for agreeing to issue Plaintiff a soy diet in an effort to violate his constitutional rights.

"Two-Meal-Per-Day" Policy

Pinckneyville eliminated its breakfast (Doc. 1, p. 7). Inmates are instead served brunch from 10:00-10:30 a.m. and dinner from 4:00-4:30 p.m. daily. Plaintiff is required to go without food for up to eighteen hours at a time. As a result, he suffers from severe headaches, severe stomach pains, and mental anguish (Doc. 1, p. 6).

Plaintiff maintains that the two meals are nutritionally inadequate (Doc. 1, pp. 6-7). Together, they total less than 1, 600 calories. Plaintiff has two options. He can either wait for his next meal or supplement his diet with food from the commissary. However, it is unclear whether he can access the prison's commissary because he is housed in segregation.

Plaintiff sues Defendants for violating his rights under the Eighth Amendment, Fourteenth Amendment, and ADA. Plaintiff also claims that Defendants conspired to institute a "two-meal-per-day" policy at Pinckneyville, in an effort to generate revenue at the prison's commissary (Doc. 1, p. 7).

Discussion

Based on the allegations, the Court finds it convenient to divide the pro se complaint into the following six claims, which correspond to those set forth above. The parties and the Court will use these designations in all future pleadings and orders, unless otherwise directed by a judicial officer of this Court. The designation of these counts does not constitute an opinion regarding their merit.

Count 1: Eighth Amendment claim against Defendants for endangering Plaintiff's health by serving him a soy diet;
Count 2: Fourteenth Amendment claim against Defendants for ignoring Plaintiff's grievances regarding the soy diet and/or ...

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