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Teague v. Johnson

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

May 10, 2017

BRUCE J. TEAGUE, # K-88876, Plaintiff,
v.
FOOD SUPERVISOR JOHNSON, WARDEN J. LASHBROOK, and UNKNOWN PARTIES, [1]Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          David R. Herndon Judge.

         This matter is now before the Court for consideration of the Fourth Amended Complaint (Doc. 13) filed by plaintiff Bruce Teague on February 22, 2017. (Doc. 13). Plaintiff claims that officials at Pinckneyville Correctional Center (“Pinckneyville”) served him spoiled chicken on October 14, 2016. (Doc. 13, p. 5). As a result, he suffered from food poisoning. Id. Plaintiff now brings a claim of negligence against these officials. Id. He invokes the Fourth and Eighth Amendments in support of this claim. Id. Plaintiff seeks monetary relief. (Doc. 13, p. 6).

         The Fourth Amended Complaint is subject to screening under 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 such relief.

         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). 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. 2009). The Fourth Amended Complaint does not survive screening under this standard and shall be dismissed.

         Fourth Amended Complaint

         Plaintiff alleges that he was served spoiled pulled chicken for dinner at Pinckneyville on October 14, 2016. (Doc. 13, p. 5). He smelled a foul odor emanating from his food tray and immediately reported it to an unknown lieutenant who worked in dietary. Id. The lieutenant said that nothing was wrong with his food. Id. Plaintiff then reported the issue to the kitchen supervisor, who also said that nothing was wrong with the food. Id.

         Plaintiff proceeded to eat the food. (Doc. 13, p. 5). Shortly after doing so, he began experiencing stomach pain and extreme body pain. Id. He became ill and began vomiting. Id. He lost bowel control. Id.

         Plaintiff was diagnosed with salmonella. (Doc. 13, p. 5). He remained sick for a “couple weeks.” Id. During this time, he describes tremendous pain, and he was “afraid to eat.” Id. However, plaintiff does not claim that he missed any meals or was denied appropriate medical care for his condition. Id.

         He blames the entire incident on the negligence of the kitchen lieutenant and dietary staff. (Doc. 13, p. 5). He asserts that these individuals are supposed to make sure that inmate food is safe to eat. Id. By failing to do so, they allegedly ...


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