United States District Court, C.D. Illinois
MERIT REVIEW OPINION
MYERSCOUGH, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
filed this case pro se from Macon County Jail. The case is
before the Court for a merit review pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A. This statute requires the Court to review
a complaint filed by a prisoner to identify the cognizable
claims and to dismiss part or all of the complaint if no
claim is stated.
reviewing the Complaint, the Court accepts the factual
allegations as true, liberally construing them in
Plaintiff's favor. Turley v. Rednour, 729 F.3d
645, 649 (7th Cir. 2013). However, conclusory
statements and labels are insufficient. Enough facts must be
provided to "'state a claim for relief that is
plausible on its face.'" Alexander v. U.S.,
721 F.3d 418, 422 (7th Cir. 2013)(quoted cite
alleges that, on August 27, 2017, he bit into a sandwich
which, unbeknownst to Plaintiff, contained a woman's
press-on fingernail. The fingernail cut the roof of
Plaintiff's mouth before Plaintiff could spit out the
fingernail. Plaintiff internal efforts for justice have been
denied. He seeks $150, 000 in damages.
ongoing problem of foreign objects in prison food can state a
federal constitutional claim for deliberate indifference to a
substantial risk of serious harm. For example, in Green
v. Beth, a detainee alleged that jail officials knew of
repeated problems with foreign objects in the food causing
injury to detainees, and the plaintiff-detainee's teeth
had been broken by biting into a rock imbedded in the food.
The Seventh Circuit held those allegations sufficient to
state a claim. Green v. Beth, 663 F'Appx. 471
(7th Cir. 2016)(not reported in Fed. Rptr.);
see also French v. Owens, 777 F.2d 1250, 1255 (7th
Cir. 1985)(inmates are constitutionally entitled to
“‘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.'")(quoting with approval Ramos v.
Lamm, 639 F.2d 559, 570-71 (10th Cir. 1980).
an isolated incident of being served contaminated food does
not rise to a constitutional violation. See Perez v.
Sullivan, 100 F'Appx. 564 (7th Cir.
2004)(not reported in Fed. Rptr.)(affirming dismissal for
failure to state a claim allegations that detainee became
sick from isolated incident of being served spoiled milk);
Teen v. St. Clair County Jail, 2017 WL 3670164 (S.D.
Ill. 2017)(not reported in Fed. Rptr.)(single episode of food
contamination without prior occurrences of contamination
stated no constitutional claim). The individuals preparing
the food might have been negligent, but negligence does not
violate the U.S. Constitution. McGowan v. Hulick,
612 F.3d 636, 640 (7th Cir. 2010)(“[N]egligence, even
gross negligence, does not violate the Constitution.”)
Additionally, the individuals who run the Jail, like the
Sheriff, are not liable for the constitutional violations of
their employees simply because those individuals are in
charge. Kuhn v. Goodlow, 678 F.3d 552. 556 (7th Cir.
2012)("'An individual cannot be held liable in a
§ 1983 action unless he caused or participated in an
alleged constitutional deprivation.'")(quoted cite
omitted); Chavez v. Illinois State Police, 251 F.3d
612, 651 (7th Cir. 2001)(no respondeat superior liability
under § 1983).
allegations do not allow a plausible inference of a systemic
problem with contaminated food at the Jail. The only
plausible inference that arises from the current allegations
is that the fingernail in the food was an isolated occurrence
of negligence. The criminal dockets from Plaintiff's
currently pending charges in Macon County show that he has
been in the custody of the Jail since June 2017. People
v. Hollgarth, 2017CF452; People v. Hollgarth,
2017CF2015. In the eight months since his detention, he
alleges only one incident of contaminated food, which would
be about one meal out of well over 600 meals, if Plaintiff is
served three meals a day. The current complaint, therefore,
states no federal claim, but Plaintiff will be given an
opportunity to file an amended complaint.
1) Plaintiff's complaint is dismissed without prejudice
for failure to state a claim pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
2) Plaintiff may file an amended complaint by March 6, 2018.
If Plaintiff does not file an amended complaint or
Plaintiff's amended complaint still fails to state a
claim, then this action will be dismissed for failure to
state a claim and a strike will be assessed against Plaintiff
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1915(g). If Plaintiff files an amended
complaint, the amended complaint will replace the original
complaint. Piecemeal amendments are not permitted.
 A prisoner who has had three prior
actions dismissed for failure to state a claim or as
frivolous or malicious can no longer proceed in forma
pauperis (without prepaying the filing fee in full) unless
the prisoner is under “imminent danger of ...