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Jackson v. Bryant

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

August 26, 2016

TERRI BRYANT, Defendant.



         Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, pro se Plaintiff Commodore Jackson filed his complaint against Terri Bryant alleging that she was indifferent to his nutritional needs while Plaintiff was incarcerated at the Pinckneyville Correctional Center. This matter is before the Court on Defendant's motion for summary judgment (Doc. 61). Plaintiff has filed a response in opposition to the motion (Docs. 64 and 67). For the following reasons, the Court GRANTS Defendant's motion for summary judgment.

         Factual Background

         Plaintiff was a prisoner at Pinckneyville Correctional Center from December 2012 until he was transferred in March 2014 (Doc. 62-5). Plaintiff's complaint alleges that while he was at Pinckneyville, Defendant implemented a brunch program that combined breakfast and lunch and thus denied him adequate nutrition. When Plaintiff first transferred to Pinckneyville, the brunch program was only used on weekends, but the prison later instituted the program on a daily basis around August 2013 (Doc. 62-1, p. 9-10; Doc. 67, p. 8). He originally received three meals during the week and two meals on weekends, but with the implementation of the brunch program full-time, Plaintiff only received two meals each day (Id. at p. 10). Plaintiff was initially placed in segregation at Pinckneyville and received his meals in his cell through the food slot (Id. at p. 11). He was on lockdown twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week (Id. at p. 12).

         Plaintiff received a vegan diet while at Pinckneyville (Doc. 62-1, p. 13). He was not initially on a vegan diet when he arrived at Pinckneyville as the chaplain was on vacation when Plaintiff transferred, but he eventually was put on a vegan diet (Id.). During the brunch program, for breakfast Plaintiff received a breakfast patty, oatmeal, lettuce, vegetables, bread, milk and juice (Id. at p. 14). Plaintiff believed this amount of food was inadequate for an adult male. The average dinner tray would consist of the same patty in gravy, bread, rice, and vegetables (Id. at p. 14-15). Brunch was served at 9:00 a.m. and dinner was served at 3:00 p.m. (Id. at p. 15). As Plaintiff was in segregation he did not have the opportunity to purchase more food from the commissary (Id. at p. 15). Plaintiff was also not allowed to save food off of his tray for later, although he sometimes snuck bread from the tray and kept it (Id. at p. 15-16).

         Plaintiff testified that he believed that he lost weight and that the brunch program gave power to the officers passing out the trays who would pay inmates in extra trays to fight other inmates (Doc. 62-1, p. 16). Plaintiff testified that he would also be denied food for talking at night or for not tucking in his shirt in the chow hall (Id. at p. 18). Plaintiff testified that an adult male was supposed to have between 2, 300 and 2, 500 calories a day (Id. at p. 22). While Plaintiff did not know the actual calorie count for the food he received at Pinckneyville, he did not believe that it was enough (Id. at p. 23).

         Terri Bryant was a food service manager at Pinckneyville during the time period at issue (Doc. 62-2, p. 1). As a food manager, Bryant supervised other personnel and inmate workers, ensured that health codes were followed, and ensured that the kitchen followed the master menu and adhered to any special diets (Id.). She supervised the food supervisors who were in charge of day-to-day operations (Id.). Bryant was not a dietician but spent several years in the food service industry (Id.). In 2012 to 2013, Bryant was ordered by the warden to pilot a brunch program which required that two meals be served to the inmates, rather than the traditional three meals per day. The Illinois Department of Corrections' Registered Dietician, Suzann Bailey, wrote the master menu to comply with the two meal plan, in order to ensure that sufficient calorie needs were met for the inmates (Id. at p. 1-2). The master menus were then provided to Bryant and she followed those menus in making the meals, only substituting items when necessary (Id. at p. 2; 62-3; 62-4). If substitutions were made, it was for a similar item. For example, if Bryant had to substitute a vegetable, she would substitute that vegetable with another vegetable of the same portion size (Doc. 62-2, p. 2).

         Plaintiff states that, as a result of the brunch program, Plaintiff was denied 183 meals as he only received two meals a day during the relevant time period (Doc. 67, p. 9). Plaintiff refers to the exhibits in his complaint as evidence of his claims.[1] One affidavit from Plaintiff states that he spoke to the assistant warden on January 6, 2014 about the brunch program and told the warden that inmates needed 2, 300 calories per day, but the warden replied that inmates were only required to receive 1, 800 calories (Doc. 1, p. 24). Further, an affidavit from inmate Darnell Carraway states that he was also at Pinckneyville and was subjected to the brunch program. Carraway testified that for dinner on one occasion he received two tamales and a small portion of macaroni and lettuce with no cheese or chili for dinner (Doc. 1, p. 25). He did not receive another tray until the next day for brunch (Id.). Carraway also testified that prior to the brunch menu, inmates received two milks for breakfast and one milk and one juice for lunch, but when the prison switched to the brunch menu the inmates did not receive juice (Id.). Plaintiff also points out that numerous inmates Dated: to his grievance complaining about the brunch program and the denial of three meals per day (Doc. 1, p. 22-23, 28).

         Legal Standards

         A. Summary Judgment

         Summary judgment is proper only “if the admissible evidence considered as a whole shows there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Dynegy Marketing & Trade v. Multiut Corp., 648 F.3d 506, 517 (7th Cir. 2011) (citing Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a)). A fact is material if it is outcome determinative under applicable law, and a genuine issue of material fact exists if “the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).

         The party seeking summary judgment bears the initial burden of demonstrating-based on the pleadings, affidavits, and the other information submitted-the lack of any genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). After a proper motion for summary judgment is made, the adverse party “must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 250 (quoting Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e)(2)). A mere scintilla of evidence in support of the nonmovant's petition is insufficient; a party will be successful in opposing the motion when it presents definite, competent evidence to rebut it. Szymanski v. Rite-Way Lawn Maintenance Co., Inc., 231 F.3d 360, 364 (7th Cir. 2000).

         On summary judgment, the Court considers the facts in the light most favorable to the non-movant, and adopts reasonable inferences and resolves doubts in the non-movant's favor. Srail v. Vill. of Lisle, 588 F.3d 940, 948 (7th Cir. 2009). Even if the material facts are not in dispute, summary judgment is inappropriate when the information before the Court reveals that “alternate inferences can be drawn from the available evidence.” Spiegla v. Hull, 371 F.3d 928, 935 (7th Cir. 2004), abrogated on other grounds by Spiegla II, 481 F.3d at 966 (7th Cir. 2007).

         B. ...

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