United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
M. YANDLE U.S. District Judge
Andrew Ruiz, an inmate currently incarcerated at
Pinckneyville Correctional Center
(“Pinckneyville”), brings this pro se action for
alleged violations of his constitutional rights under 42
U.S.C. § 1983. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that
Defendants conspired to violate his Eighth and Fourteenth
Amendment rights by serving him a soy-based diet. He seeks
compensatory and punitive damages and fees.
case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the
Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Under Section
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).
the pendency of this action, it came to the Court's
attention that another inmate at Pickneyville had been filing
soy-diet cases without the consent of the named plaintiffs
and in some cases, forging the signature of the named
plaintiffs. The Court therefore took the unusual step of
asking Plaintiff Ruiz to confirm his intention to proceed
with the case as filed. (Doc. 11). On May 23, 2017, Plaintiff
filed a Response to the Court's Order stating, “my
lawsuit is not bogus and I would like to continue on with
suit.” (Doc. 12). This satisfies the Court that
Plaintiff's suit is legitimately filed.
entered Pickneyville sometime in 2015. (Doc. 1, p. 6). Since
arriving, he began eating a soy-based diet that was devoid of
fresh fruit. Id. Plaintiff complained to Defendants
Lashbrook and Love in November 2016 as both defendants were
coming out of the chow hall. (Doc. 1, p. 7). Lashbrook told
Plaintiff to eat more commissary items if he didn't like
what was being served in chow hall. Id. When
Plaintiff objected that commissary prices were too high,
Lashbrook told him that she didn't give “a
fuck.” Id. Lashbrook also told him that if he
didn't want to eat prison food, he should stay out of
experienced extreme gas and constipation. Id. On one
occasion, he went 9 days without a bowel movement.
Id. When he finally had a movement, he tore his anus
and the feces clogged the toilet up. Id. There was
blood all over. Id. Plaintiff saw Defendant Dr. Shah
in the hallway and told him about his constipation and the
tear, but Shah told him that he did not know what he was
talking about and that he just needed to drink more water.
Id. Shah then refused to examine him or provide
treatment. Id. Plaintiff also suffers from headaches
and depression as a result of the soy diet (Doc. 1, p. 8).
alleges that the food situation is part of a conspiracy and
that Defendant Fisher and others have taken
“real” food and loaded it up in their cars.
Id. Plaintiff has been forced to spend large amounts
of money at the commissary purchasing adequate food.
Id. On one occasion, he saw the commissary owner out
and told him that prices were too high. Id. The
commissary owner told the inmates that he would never eat the
dining hall food and that they were better off eating
commissary items. Id.
wrote to the IDOC director (Defendant Baldwin) and Defendant
Bailey, but was ignored. Id.
on the allegations, the Court finds it convenient to divide
the pro se Complaint 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. The following
claim survives threshold review:
Count 1 - Eighth Amendment claim against
Shah for being deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff's
constipation and torn anus; The following claims will be
dismissed at this time:
Count 2 - Defendants were deliberately
indifferent to Plaintiff's health in violation of the
Eighth Amendment when they developed and served a soy diet;
Count 3 - Defendants conspired to serve
Plaintiff a soy diet in deliberate indifference to his health
in violation of the Eighth Amendment in order to maximize
prison commissary profits, Count 4 -
Fourteenth Amendment claim against Defendants Baldwin and
Bailey for failing to respond to communications.