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Williamss v. Shah

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

May 31, 2018

LEONTE WILLIAMS, Plaintiff,
v.
DR. VIPIN SHAH, SUZANN BAILEY, WARDEN LASHBROOK, and JOHN R. BALDWIN, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          STACI M. YANDLE, United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Leonte Williams, an inmate in the custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”), filed this lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that his constitutional rights were violated while he was incarcerated at Pinckneyville Correctional Center (“Pinckneyville”). Specifically, Williams alleges that the soy-based diet and brunch program served at Pinckneyville caused him to suffer various health problems. He is proceeding on the following claims:

Count One: Director Baldwin, Food Service Administrator Bailey, and Warden Lashbrook violated Williams' Eighth Amendment rights by serving him soy meals.
Count Two: Dr. Shah was deliberately indifferent to Williams' Eighth Amendment rights.
Count Three: Director Baldwin, Food Service Administrator Bailey, and Warden Lashbrook violated the Eighth Amendment by instituting a two-meal-per-day policy.

         Defendants Baldwin, Bailey, and Lashbrook, and Defendant Dr. Shah filed motions for summary judgment that are now before the Court (Docs. 82 and 88). Plaintiff filed responses to the same (Docs. 96 and 97).[1] For the following reasons, Defendants' motions are GRANTED.

         Discussion

         Plaintiff Leonte Williams was incarcerated at Pinckneyville from July 2015 to February 2016 (Deposition of Leonte Willams, Doc. 83-1 at 67). When Williams arrived at Pinckneyville, it was utilizing a “brunch” program wherein inmates were served two, rather than three meals per day (Id. at 14-15). The brunch meal was served around 10:30 or 11:00 a.m. and, according to Williams, typically consisted of grits, fried chicken, a snack, bread, milk, and juice (Id. at 15). Dinner was served around 4:30 or 5:00 p.m. and typically consisted of a hot dog, bread, a snack, vegetables, and a side dish (Id. at 16). According to the Declaration of Suzann Bailey, who was the IDOC Food Service Administrator and licensed dietician during the relevant period, the brunch program required that all inmates receive 2, 200 to 2, 400 calories, eight ounces of protein, and at least five fruit or vegetable choices a day, similar to the regular (three meals per day) meal program[2] (Declaration of Suzann Bailey, Doc. 83-2 at ¶¶ 4, 9).

         Commonly, Williams did not receive eight ounces of protein a day or five servings of vegetables per day, and he would often receive food trays with multiple empty compartments (Affidavit of Leonte Williams, Doc. 97-4 at ¶¶ 9-11). Williams believes he lost weight due to the brunch program, but has no “proof” of the same (Doc. 83-1 at 22-23). The brunch program was discontinued on December 1, 2015 (Id. at 22; Doc. 83-2 at ¶ 8).

         Williams also suffered worsening symptoms related to soy in his diet in 2015 while at Pinckneyville (Doc. 83-1 at 37). In particular, he suffered from constipation, diarrhea, and stomach pain (Id. at 37, 40). Williams also noticed blood in his stool on one occasion (Id. at 40-41). In August 2015, Williams began complaining to the nurses dispensing medication in segregation about his symptoms (Id. at 63).

         Williams contends that he saw Dr. Shah on July 31, 2015, October 30, 2015, November 11, 2015 and November 30, 2015 (Id. at 71). Specifically, Williams saw Dr. Shah on July 31, 2015 while he was doing a walkthrough in his cell house, and told Dr. Shah he was experiencing migraines and headaches (Id. at 72-73). Dr. Shah told Williams he “looked good” and directed him to fill out a sick call request form if he felt he needed to be seen (Id. at 74). On October 30, 2015, Williams complained to Dr. Shah about migraines, constipation, and diarrhea (Id. at 81). He told Dr. Shah that he believed the soy in his diet was causing his symptoms (Id.). He asked for a thyroid check, but Dr. Shah only told him to drink more water (Id. at 81-82).

         Williams testified that he also saw Dr. Shah in November 2015, and Dr. Shah ordered soy allergy testing on that date (Id. at 84-85). According to Williams, Dr. Shah indicated his “level” was a little high, but he was fine (Id. at 85). Dr. Shah advised Williams to eat more soy and drink more water so his body would get used to it (Id.).

         Williams' medical records indicate that he first saw Dr. Shah on November 19, 2015, and that Williams complained of problems with bowel movements and gas and reported that he was sometimes vomiting after eating. (Affidavit of Dr. Vipin Shah, Doc. 89-2 at ¶ 10; Doc. 89-3 at 19). Dr. Shah completed a physical examination that was normal, and ordered allergy and thyroid testing, as well as other lab work (Id.). The results revealed that Williams' thyroid function was normal, and the testing for a soy allergy was inconclusive[3] (Doc. 89-2 at ¶ 12). Dr. Shah advised Williams not to worry about a soy allergy because he was not developing a rash or hives and did not have shortness of breath, which would be indicative of an allergic reaction (Id.).

         Williams did not seek additional treatment for any complaints related to a soy allergy following his November 2015 visit with Dr. Shah (Doc. 83-1 at 86-87). From November 2015 to the present time, Williams has avoided soy and has self-regulated towards a soy-free diet by trading and trafficking food (Id. at 87; Doc. 96-1 at ΒΆ 5). He did not request a ...


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