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Middendorf v. McLaurn

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

October 20, 2017

DUSTIN MIDDENDORF, Plaintiff,
v.
PHILLIP MCLAURN Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          PHIL GILBERT, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Dustin Middendorf, an inmate in Sheridan Correctional Center, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff seeks 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 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 Complaint

         Plaintiff originally brought the claims present in this action in Case No. 17-538, filed on May 22, 2017. The Court severed the case on August 25, 2017. (Doc. 1). As relevant to the claims present in this action, Plaintiff alleges that he has been served low quality and unsanitary food of inadequate nutritional value provided by Aramark. (Doc. 2, p. 9). Plaintiff was never served fruit. Id. McLaurn approved of the diet. Id.

         Discussion

         The Court's prior order served Count 5 into this case, which it described as follows:

Count 5 - Superintendent McLaurin approved of the nutritionally inadequate diet Aramark offered inmates at the Jail in 2016-17 in violation of Plaintiff's constitutional rights.

         Although Plaintiff is presently incarcerated in the Illinois Department of Corrections, his Complaint indicates that he was a pre-trial detainee at the time of the relevant events. (Doc. 2, p. 8). While the Eighth Amendment prohibits cruel and unusual punishment meted out against those convicted of crimes, the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits any punishment against a pretrial detainee. Smith v. Dart, 803 F.3d 304, 309 (7th Cir. 2015); Antonelli v. Sheahan, 81 F.3d 1422, 1427 (7th Cir. 19960 (citing Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 535 n. 16 (1979)). A condition of confinement imposed on a pre-trial detainee satisfies the Constitution when it is reasonably related to a legitimate and non-punitive governmental goal. Antonelli, 81 F.3d. at 1427-28. However, there is little practicable difference between the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment standards, and it is not err to apply the standards interchangeably. Smith, 803 F.3d at 310.

         As to Plaintiff's Count 5, correctional officials are obligated to provide “nutritionally adequate food that is prepared and served under conditions which do not present an immediate danger to the health and well-being of the inmates who consume it.” French v. Owens,777 F.2d 1250, 1255 (7th Cir. 1985), cert. denied,479 U.S. 817, (1986) (quoting Ramos v. Lamm,639 F.2d 559, 571 (10th Cir. 1980), cert. denied,450 U.S. 1041 ...


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