United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
M. YANDLE U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
Quennel Augusta is currently incarcerated at Jacksonville
Correctional Center (“Jacksonville”). The
original civil rights Complaint was filed by Augusta and a
co-plaintiff, Shawn J. Flores, in Augusta, et al. v.
Employees of Vandalia Correctional Center, et al., No.
17-cv-798-SMY. At Augusta's request, the claims of
co-plaintiff Flores were severed into a new action and
Augusta was granted leave to file an Amended Complaint.
However, the Amended Complaint did not survive preliminary
review, and on April 10, 2018, Augusta filed a Second Amended
reviewing the Second Amended Complaint, the Court severed a
number of Augusta's claims from the original case into
separate actions. (Doc. 1). The instant case concerns Count
6, which arose at Vandalia Correctional Center
(“Vandalia”) and is described as follows:
6 - Eighth Amendment claim against Mahaffey and Berg
for denying Augusta meals on unspecified occasions.
claim is now before the Court for a preliminary review
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.
§ 1915A, the Court is required to screen prisoner
Complaints to filter out non-meritorious claims. See
28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). Any portion of a Complaint that is
legally frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted, or seeks money damages from a
defendant who by law is immune from such relief, must be
dismissed. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).
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 “no
reasonable person could suppose to have any merit.”
Lee v. Clinton, 209 F.3d 1025, 1026-27 (7th Cir.
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. Conversely, a Complaint is plausible on
its face “when the plaintiff pleads factual content
that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that
the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
the Court is obligated to accept factual allegations as true,
see Smith v. Peters, 631 F.3d 418, 419 (7th Cir.
2011), some factual allegations may be so sketchy or
implausible that they fail to provide sufficient notice of a
plaintiff's claim. Brooks v. Ross, 578 F.3d 574,
581 (7th Cir. 2009). Courts “should not accept as
adequate abstract recitations of the elements of a cause of
action or conclusory legal statements.” Id.
However, the factual allegations of a pro se
Complaint are to be liberally construed. See Arnett v.
Webster, 658 F.3d 742, 751 (7th Cir. 2011);
Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816,
821 (7th Cir. 2009).
15, 2018, Augusta filed a Response to Proceed with This Case
(Doc. 8) and a Motion to Produce (Doc. 9). In addition to
indicating that he wants to proceed with the instant action,
he asks the Court to (1) order Defendants to produce certain
grievances; (2) consider additional facts not included in the
Second Amended Complaint; and (3) provide Plaintiff with the
case number assigned to this action.
reasons discussed below, Count 6 does not survive preliminary
review. As such, the request for discovery is premature and
shall be denied without prejudice. Plaintiff also asks to
supplement the record with additional facts but as the Court
has previously explained, piecemeal amendments are not
permitted. Therefore, in reviewing Count 6, the Court will
not consider any supplemental material. Plaintiff, however,
will be granted leave to file an amended complaint. As to his
the final request, Plaintiff will receive the case number for
the instant action when the Clerk of the Court supplies him
with a copy of this Order.
portion of the Second Amended Complaint which relates to
Count 6 provides, in its entirety, as follows: “Officer
Mahaffey and C.O. Berg and many other employees of [Vandalia]
had denied me and other inmates from a state meals which this
means we are to starve.” (Doc. 2, p. 7). The Seventh
Circuit has held that the denial of food is not a per
se violation of the Constitution. Reed v.
McBride, 178 F.3d 849, 853 (7th Cir. 1999). However,
other Circuit Courts have found that the excessive denial of
food can qualify as an Eighth Amendment violation. Cooper
v. Sheriff of Lubbock County, 929 F.2d 1078, 1083 (5th
Cir. 1991) (failure to feed a prisoner ...