United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Michael J. Reagan, Chief Judge United States District Court
Ray Harris, an inmate in Pinckneyville Correctional Center
(“Pinckneyville”), brings this action for
deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff claims Defendants conspired to
serve a soy-based diet at Pinckneyville and make money from
increased commissary sales. Plaintiff contends his
consumption of soy has caused him to suffer medical problems
and Defendants have been deliberately indifferent to the
same. Plaintiff sues Suzann Bailey (food service
administrator), John Baldwin (director), Ty Bates (deputy
director), Jacqueline Lashbrook (prison warden), Mike Fisher
(food service manager), Vipen Shah (prison doctor), and Larue
Love (assistant 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, which provides:
(a) Screening - The court shall review,
before docketing, if feasible or, in any event, as soon as
practicable after docketing, a complaint in a civil action in
which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or
officer or employee of a governmental entity.
(b) Grounds for Dismissal - On review, the
court shall identify cognizable claims or dismiss the
complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint-
(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim on
which relief may be granted; or
(2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from
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 any reasonable
person would find meritless. 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. At
this juncture, the factual allegations of the pro se
complaint are to be liberally construed. See Rodriguez v.
Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir.
careful review of the Complaint and any supporting exhibits,
the Court finds it appropriate to exercise its authority
under § 1915A; portions of this action are subject to
alleges Defendants violated his constitutional rights by
establishing a cost-saving policy of serving inmates a
soy-based diet despite known negative health risks. (Doc. 1,
pp. 6-8). Plaintiff further asserts Defendants acted in
conspiracy to maintain a policy of serving a soy diet with
the end goal of pocketing large profits. (Doc. 1, pp. 6-8).
Plaintiff contends that since beginning the soy-based diet he
has experienced a number of health issues. (Doc. 1, p. 6).
Plaintiff's health issues include severe constipation,
extreme gas, severe stomach pains, fatigue, loss of
circulation in his hands, and “other mental
injuries.” (Doc. 1, p. 7).
“mid 2015, ” Plaintiff met with Doctor Shah and
reported the following medical issues: (1) extreme gas; (2)
bouts of constipation lasting 4 to 8 days; (3) ripped/torn
anus; and (4) severe stomach pains. (Doc. 1, p. 6). Plaintiff
further reported he did not have these issues prior beginning
the soy-based diet. Id. Doctor Shah directed
Plaintiff to “stop crying like a baby and drink more
water.” Id. Plaintiff then requested a thyroid
hormone level check. Shah refused to perform the test,
stating “Wexford don't allow that test. It's
too expensive.” Id.
IDOC officials ignored Plaintiff's complaints on the
subject. Plaintiff spoke directly with Warden Lashbrook and
Assistant Warden Love. (Doc. 1, p. 7). He was instructed, by
either Lashbrook or Love, to stop eating the soy and/or buy
more food from the commissary. (Doc. 1, p. 8). In September
2016,  Plaintiff filed a grievance. (Doc. 1, p.
8). Plaintiff does not specify what, if any, response he
received in relation to the September 2016 grievance.
Further, Plaintiff provides no detail regarding the substance
of the September 2016 grievance.
Plaintiff alleges Bailey, Baldwin, Lashbrook, Fisher, Love,
and Bates implemented a policy whereby inmates at
Pinckneyville are served an inadequate breakfast and rarely
receive fresh fruit. (Doc. 1, p. 8). As a result, Plaintiff
is fed less than 1800 calories a day and is suffering from
“severe hunger pains” and other problems.
Id. Plaintiff's requests for a higher calorie
diet have generally been ignored. Id. On one
occasion, in response to Plaintiff's complaints about the
diet, Fisher told Plaintiff to eat everything on his plate so
he wouldn't be so hungry. Id.
on the allegations of the Complaint, the Court finds it
convenient to divide the pro se action into
4 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. The
designation of these counts does not constitute an opinion
regarding their merit.
1-Defendants have been deliberately indifferent to
Plaintiff's medical needs by failing to treat the
symptoms he attributes to his ongoing consumption of soy
products, in violation of the Eighth Amendment.
2-Defendants violated Plaintiff's Eighth
Amendment rights by serving a nutritionally deficient diet
consisting of only 1800 calories per day, very little fruit
and an inadequate breakfast.
3-Defendants subjected Plaintiff to unconstitutional
conditions of confinement by implementing a soy-based diet
policy, in violation of the Eighth Amendment.
4-Defendants conspired together to violate
Plaintiff's rights by ...