United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
MICHAEL J. REAGAN U.S. Chief District Judge
currently incarcerated at Pinckneyville Correctional Center
(“Pinckneyville”), has brought this pro
se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983. Plaintiff claims that Defendants conspired to serve a
soy-based diet at Pinckneyville and make money from increased
commissary sales. Plaintiff believes that his consumption of
soy has caused him to suffer medical problems. This case is
now before the Court for a preliminary review of the
complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.
§ 1915A, the Court is required to screen prisoner
complaints to filter out non-meritorious claims. See
28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court must 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).
action or claim is frivolous if “it lacks an arguable
basis either in law or in fact.” Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). Frivolousness is an
objective standard that refers to a claim that “no
reasonable person could suppose to have any merit.”
Lee v. Clinton, 209 F.3d 1025, 1026-27 (7th Cir.
2000). An action 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.”
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
(2007). The claim of entitlement to relief must cross
“the line between possibility and plausibility.”
Id. at 557. Conversely, a complaint is plausible on
its face “when the plaintiff pleads factual content
that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that
the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
Although the Court is obligated to accept factual allegations
as true, see Smith v. Peters, 631 F.3d 418, 419 (7th
Cir. 2011), some factual allegations may be so sketchy or
implausible that they fail to provide sufficient notice of a
plaintiff's claim. Brooks v. Ross, 578 F.3d 574,
581 (7th Cir. 2009). Additionally, Courts “should not
accept as adequate abstract recitations of the elements of a
cause of action or conclusory legal statements.”
Id. At the same time, however, the factual
allegations of a pro se complaint are to be liberally
construed. See Arnett v. Webster, 658 F.3d 742, 751
(7th Cir. 2011); Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance
Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).
fully considering and liberally construing the allegations in
Plaintiff's complaint, the Court concludes that it fails
to state a constitutional claim upon which relief may be
complaint follows a familiar format, incorporating claims and
language that have been included in a number of
previously-filed lawsuits from other Pinckneyville inmates.
Defendants Lashbrook (Warden), Spiller (Assistant Warden),
the Director of the Illinois Department of Corrections
(“IDOC”), Wexford Medical Sources
(“Wexford”), Bailey (Food Service Administrator),
and the Unknown Commissary Owners, allegedly “conspired
to violate Plaintiff's rights by instituting a policy to
serve inmates at (IDOC) a soy-based diet” (Doc. 1, p.
6). Plaintiff claims that female inmates are no longer served
soy foods after winning a lawsuit, and after that legal
victory, the amount of soy fed to the male prisoners
increased. When Plaintiff complained to Defendants Lashbrook,
Bailey, and Spiller about the soy content of the diet, he was
told, “Well, don't eat it, just buy more
commissary.” Id. In Plaintiff's eyes, this
proved the conspiracy.
entered IDOC custody on February 26, 2016, and was placed at
Stateville Correctional Center. He has been served a
soy-based diet ever since. He claims to have experienced
“severe medical injuries” as a result. The
complaint does not indicate the date when he was moved to
Pinckneyville. The allegations suggest that all or most of
the following incidents occurred at Pinckneyville.
March 2016, Plaintiff had two fights with other inmates
because of the extreme gas allegedly caused by the soy diet.
Between March 21 and 27, 2016, he was so severely constipated
that he could not pass stool. On March 28, 2016, he finally
had a bowel movement which tore his anus, causing profuse
bleeding. Plaintiff wrote three sick call requests which were
point before April 11, 2016, Plaintiff followed a directive
posted by Defendant Wexford, directing inmates who have
received “unfavorable responses” to forward their
complaints to “Wexford Inmate Advocate/Inmate
Issues” (Doc. 1, p. 7). On April 11, 2016,
Plaintiff's relatives attempted to call a representative
of Defendant Wexford without success. On April 13 and 15,
2016, Plaintiff spoke in person to Defendants Lashbrook and
Spiller about the soy diet issue. He does not further
describe what he communicated to them. In response, he was
told to “Man up, or buy commissary.” Id.
Defendant Lashbrook stated, “You mistake me for someone
who gives a f**k.” Id. Defendant Bailey
refused to respond to Plaintiff.
and other inmates spoke to a woman whom he believes is
“the owner” of the Pinckneyville commissary. She
“made a smart remark that indicated ‘so sue
long before filing the instant suit, Plaintiff endured a
four- to six-day bout of severe stomach pains. He also
suffers from severe headaches, in addition to the
constipation and gas mentioned above. He claims that
Defendants “knew or should have known” that their
actions could cause him injury.
seeks a preliminary injunction, as well as compensatory and
Review Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A
on the allegations of the complaint, the Court finds it
convenient to divide the pro se action into the following
counts. 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.
designation of these counts does not constitute an opinion as
to their merit. Any other claim that is mentioned in the
complaint but not addressed in this Order should be
considered dismissed without prejudice.
Count 1: Defendants conspired together to
violate Plaintiff's rights by implementing the policy to
serve a soy-based diet;
Count 2: Defendant Wexford has been
deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff's medical needs by
failing to respond to his sick call requests seeking medical
attention for the symptoms he attributes to his ongoing
consumption of soy products, in violation of the Eighth
Count 3: Defendants Lashbrook, Spiller,
Bailey, and the IDOC Director have significant amounts of soy
products in the prison diet, in violation of ...