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Munson v. Butler

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

September 13, 2016

JAMES MUNSON, Plaintiff,
v.
KIM BUTLER, JIM WINTERS, SUZANN GRISWOLD-BAILEY, RONALD BROCKHOUSE, MAGID FAHIM, ADRIAN FEINERMAN, and FE FUENTES, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          NANCY J. ROSENSTENGEL United States District Judge

         Now pending before the Court is the Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Defendants Suzann Griswold-Bailey, Ronald Brockhouse, Kim Butler, [1] and Jim Winters (Doc. 129), the Motion for Summary filed by Defendants Adrian Feinerman, M.D. and Magid Fahim, M.D. (Doc. 138), the Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Defendant Fe Fuentes, M.D. (Doc. 144), Plaintiff's Motion to Defer Consideration of Defendants' Summary Judgment Motions and/or Motion to Allow Plaintiff Time to Take Discovery Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(d) (Doc. 154), and Plaintiff's Renewed Motion for Experts (Doc. 155). For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiff's Motion to Defer Consideration (Doc. 154) is denied, Plaintiff's Renewed Motion for Experts (Doc. 155) is denied, and Defendants' Motions for Summary Judgment (Docs. 129, 138 and 144) are granted.

         Procedural Background

         Plaintiff James Munson, an inmate in the custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”), filed this lawsuit on March 2, 2011, alleging his constitutional rights were violated while he was incarcerated at Menard Correctional Center (“Menard”). In his complaint, Munson alleges that, as a practicing Buddhist, his religion requires that he adhere to a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet, but, due to the high soy content in this diet at Menard, he has become ill. More specifically, Munson claims that as a result of the high soy content in the lacto-ovo vegetarian diet, his nutritional needs were not being met, and he suffered severe digestive problems, including irritable bowel syndrome and severe stomach pain, for which he was not given any medication. In August 2009, Munson claims he was forced to remove himself from his religious diet because his medical providers refused to put him on a soy free diet.

         Following a threshold review of the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1915A (see Doc. 11), Munson was initially proceeding on the following claims:

Count One: Eighth Amendment claim against Defendants Griswold-Bailey, Winters, Brockhouse, and Gaetz (now Butler) for failing to provide a nutritionally adequate vegetarian diet for Plaintiff.
Count Two: Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference claim against Defendants Fuentes, Feinerman, and Fahim for failing to prescribe Plaintiff a soy-free diet and failing to treat Plaintiff's complaints regarding persistent, severe abdominal pain.
Count Three: First Amendment free exercise claim against Defendants Griswold-Bailey, Gaetz (now Butler), Winters, and Brockhouse for failing to provide a soy- free vegetarian diet.

         On July 17, 2013, the Court entered an order finding that Defendants Griswold-Bailey, Brockhouse, Gaetz (now Butler), and Winters were entitled to qualified immunity on Counts One and Three and dismissed Munson's claims against these Defendants for damages (Doc. 80). The Court indicated, however, that because the defense of qualified immunity does not protect Defendants from an action for injunctive relief, Counts One and Three would remain pending against these Defendants for injunctive relief only (see Doc. 80).

         In his complaint, Munson seeks the following injunctive relief:

1. That Defendants provide him with a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet that meets or exceeds USDA dietary guidelines, with a minimum of 2, 800 calories per day, including three cups of milk, five ounces of whole grains, five servings of fruit, seven servings of vegetables, and 60 grams of “complete” protein per day (Doc. 1, p. 33).
2. That Defendants serve at least one fresh fruit per day, with the same fruit to be served no more than three times per week (Doc. 1, p. 33).
3. That Defendants serve no more than one fruit serving each day in the form of juice (Doc. 1, p. 33).
4. That Defendants serve at least two fresh vegetables each day, with the same vegetable to be served no more than three times per week (Doc. 1, p. 33).
5. That “Textured Vegetable Protein” (TVP/Soy) be removed from the lacto-ovo vegetarian diet (Doc. 1, p. 33).
6. That the last person to receive their meal tray on each feed line in the chow hall be permitted a minimum of fifteen minutes to complete eating after the meal is served (Doc. 1, pp. 33-34).
7. That Defendants provide him with “full blood wor[k]” to see if there are any abnormalities resulting from the TVP/Soy diet (Doc. 1, p. 34).

         On October 7, 2013, discovery in this matter was stayed pending the outcome of parallel litigation in the Central District of Illinois, Harris, et al. v. Brown, et al., as the issue of whether inclusion of soy in IDOC diets violates the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution was fully briefed on the parties' motions for summary judgment in that case (Doc. 96). Specifically, the Court noted that the plaintiffs in Harris had an attorney and had retained experts in support of their case. Subsequently, on June 2, 2014, this matter was stayed in its entirety pending the outcome of Harris (Doc. 104). The stay was lifted on June 15, 2015 (Doc. 116), because the Court in Harris had issued a ruling on the pending motions for summary judgment (which is discussed below). Munson was then assigned counsel to represent him in this matter (see Docs. 115 and 120).

         Defendants Brockhouse, Griswold-Bailey, Butler, and Winters filed a motion for summary judgment on September 28, 2015 (Doc. 129) arguing they are entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Defendants Fahim, Feinerman, and Fuentes also filed motions for summary judgment on the merits on October 9, 2015, and November 11, 2015, respectively (Docs. 138 and 144).

         Munson sought, and was granted, extensions of time to respond to Defendants' motions, and he filed his responses on March 6, 2016 (Docs. 151-153). On March 7, 2016, Munson also filed a motion to defer consideration of Defendants' summary judgment motions and/or motion to allow him time to take discovery pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(d) (Doc. 154) and a renewed motion for experts (Doc. 155), to which Defendants timely objected (Docs. 156, 161). The Court first addresses Plaintiff's Motion to Defer Consideration (Doc. 154) and Renewed Motion for Experts (Doc. 155), and then considers Defendants' Motions for Summary Judgment (Docs. 129, 138, and 144).

         Discussion

         I. Plaintiff's Motion To Defer Consideration Of Defendants' Summary Judgment Motions and/or Motion To Allow Plaintiff Time To Take Discovery Pursuant To Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(d) (Doc. 154) and Plaintiff's Renewed Motion For Experts (Doc. 155).

         In his motion to defer consideration, Munson asks the Court to defer ruling on Defendants' motions for summary judgment so that he may conduct discovery and depose Defendants and/or retain experts. Munson argues that he requires additional time to depose Defendants on the following issues: (1) Defendants' deliberate indifference to his continuing health problems; (2) the seriousness of severe and persistent abdominal pain and diarrhea; (3) the ability for Menard to provide him with a soy-free diet; and (4) the continuing nature of his abdominal pain after 2013, when Defendants argue the continuing harm to Munson ceased. Munson also has filed a renewed motion for experts in which he asks the Court to appoint various experts to “better aid in discovery” (Doc. 155-1).

         Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure permits a district court to delay consideration of a summary judgment motion and order additional discovery before ruling if the non-movant demonstrates that “it cannot present facts essential to justify its opposition.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(d). The Rule places the burden on the non-movant who believes additional discovery is required to “state the reasons why the party cannot adequately respond to the summary judgment motion without further discovery.” Sterk v. Redbox Automated Retail, LLC, 770 F.3d 618, 628 (7th Cir. 2014) (quoting Deere & Co. v. Ohio Gear, 462 F.3d 701, 706 (7th Cir. 2006)). More specifically, Rule 56(d) requires an affidavit from the non-movant specifically identifying the material facts that it anticipates discovering. See Grundstat v. Ritt, 166 F.3d 867, 873 (7th Cir. 1999) (finding vague assertions that discovery would develop genuine issues of material fact insufficient to grant continuance).

         In response to this motion, Defendants argue that Munson has failed to articulate how the requested additional discovery would create a genuine issue of material fact because Defendants have provided affidavits describing the medical care provided to Munson, as well as the basis for their decisions. Further, Defendants assert that Munson has failed to articulate any basis by which additional information would be needed with regard to their actions in this case.

         The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has found that “[a] party seeking the protection” of Rule 56(d) “must make a good faith showing that it cannot respond to the movant's affidavits.” Kalis v. Colgate-Palmolive Co., 231 F.3d 1049, 1058 n. 5 (7th Cir. 2000) (quoting United States v. All Assets and Equip. of W. Side Bldg. Corp., 58 F.3d 1181, 1190 (7th Cir. 1995) (citations and footnote omitted)). Munson has failed to make such a showing here. Indeed, Munson has merely indicated a number of issues he would depose Defendants about without any indication of what specific evidence he may obtain from these depositions that would create a genuine issue as to a material fact. See Davis v. G.N. Mortg. Corp., 396 F.3d 869, 885 (7th Cir. 2005). Moreover, prior to filing his motion, Munson filed responses to Defendants' motions for summary judgment (see Docs. 151-153). Although Munson makes mention of his request for relief pursuant to Rule 56(d) in his responses, he addresses Defendants' statements of material facts and includes additional uncontroverted facts to support his position. Thus, it is unclear what additional evidence Munson seeks in order to file a response to Defendants' motions. Finally, while the Court acknowledges that counsel for Munson was appointed to this matter in July 2015, just months prior to the filing of dispositive motions (see Doc. 120), Munson was granted three extensions of time to respond to Defendants' motions. Munson had ample time to seek additional discovery pursuant to Rule 56(d) prior to filing his responses. For these reasons, the motion to defer consideration of Defendants' summary judgment motions and/or motion to allow Plaintiff time to take discovery (Doc. 154) is denied. Similarly, Plaintiff's renewed motion for experts (Doc. 155) is denied.

         II. Defendants' Motions For Summary Judgment (Docs. 129, 138, and 144).

         A. Relevant ...


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