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Jordan v. Bailey

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

November 14, 2016

DENZEL JORDAN, # M-55351, Plaintiff,
v.
SUZANN BAILEY, JOHN BALDWIN, JACQUELINE LASHBROOK, BETSY SPILLER, and LARUE LOVE, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          MICHAEL J. REAGAN Chief District Judge United States District Court

         Plaintiff Denzel Jordan, an inmate who is currently incarcerated at Pinckneyville Correctional Center (“Pinckneyville”), brings this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He challenges the decision of several officials in the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”) to serve inmates a soy-based diet while denying them medical care for the adverse side effects they suffer (Doc. 1, p. 5). In connection with these claims, Plaintiff names John Baldwin (IDOC director), Jacqueline Lashbrook (Pinckneyville warden), Betsy Spiller (assistant warden of operations), LaRue Love (assistant warden of programs), and Suzann Bailey (food service administrator) for conspiring to violate his rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments (id. at 5). Plaintiff seeks monetary relief against them (id. at 6).

         Merits Review Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A

         This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Under § 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).

         An 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). 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 Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009). The complaint does not survive preliminary review under this standard and shall therefore be dismissed.

         Complaint

         The allegations in the complaint are set forth in a single paragraph (Doc. 1, p. 5). There, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants Baldwin, Lashbrook, Spiller, Love, and Bailey conspired with Doctor Vipen Shah to violate Plaintiff's rights by serving him a soy-based diet and “almost never” serving him fresh fruit (id.). Plaintiff has consumed the diet since November 19, 2015, and he claims that Doctor Shah has refused to provide inmates with “adequate medical care” for their “soy-related/complaints” since that time (id.). Instead, the defendants have “poket[ed] (sic) the millions of dollars that they save[d]” by serving this diet (id.).

         Discussion

         Based on the allegations, the Court finds it convenient to divide the pro se complaint into the following enumerated counts:

Count 1:Eighth Amendment claim against Defendants for endangering Plaintiff's health by serving him a soy diet and denying him adequate access to fresh fruit.
Count 2:Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference claim against Doctor Shah for denying Plaintiff adequate medical care for his soy-related health complaints.
Count 3:Conspiracy claim against Defendants for depriving Plaintiff of a nutritionally adequate diet in an effort to save money.

         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 ...


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