United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MARLON L. WATFORD, Plaintiff,
HARNER, WINTERS, KERNS, OPOKA, VAN DECKERHOFF, HOLT, HARRINGTON, BUTLER, LASHBROOK, ROSE, SEALS, THEO, LLOYD HANNA, JOHN DOE 1, and JAN DOE Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
MICHAEL J. REAGAN U.S. CHIEF DISTRICT JUDGE
Marlon L. Watford, an inmate in Menard Correctional Center,
brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional
rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff seeks
injunctive relief, compensatory damages, and punitive
damages. This case is now before the Court for a preliminary
review of the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A,
(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
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.
careful review of the Complaint and any supporting exhibits,
the Court finds it appropriate to exercise its authority
under § 1915A; portions of this action are subject to
is a sincere and devout Muslim and follows the tenants of
Al-Islam. (Doc. 1, p. 2). It is a tenant of his faith to
perform a fast during the holy month of Ramadhan and to
complete the fast with the Id-ul-Fitr (feast). (Doc. 1, pp.
2-3). Since 2002 (when Plaintiff was first incarcerated at
Menard), prison officials have provided Christian inmates
with a feast at Christmas, but Plaintiff has not been given a
feast to celebrate Id-ul-Fitr in accordance with his
religious beliefs. (Doc. 1, pp. 4-6). Plaintiff has been
deprived of the Il-ul-Fitr feast on July 28, 2014, July 18,
2015, July 6, 2016, and June 25, 2017 by Defendants Harner,
Winters, Kern, Opoka, Van Deckerhoff, Holt, Theo, Harrington,
Butler, and Lashbrook. (Doc. 1, p. 6). Plaintiff alleges that
this conduct impedes his religious expression. (Doc. 1, p.
normal practice at Menard to provide Muslim inmates with
sahur (pre-dawn) and iftar (sunset) meal trays during the
month of Ramadhan in order to fast. (Doc. 1, p. 14).
Plaintiff was approved to be added to the institutional
fasting list for Muslims who wanted to participate in
Ramadhan on April 15, 2017. Id. Despite being
approved, Plaintiff was deprived of his fasting meal trays
from June 1, 2017 through June 24, 2017 by Harner, Theo,
Winters, Van Deckerhoff, Lashbrook, Rose, Seals and John Doe.
(Doc. 1, pp. 15-20). Similarly situated Muslim inmates and
Christian inmates were not deprived of their religious
special diet trays. (Doc. 1, pp. 18-19).
tenant of Plaintiff's faith is that he must not eat of
meats of which Allah's name has not been pronounced
because that would be impiety. (Doc. 1, pp. 23-24). In order
to meet this requirement, Plaintiff was approved for the
Lacto-Ovo-Veg religious diet tray on October 22, 2007. (Doc.
1, p. 25). Plaintiff alleges that the IDOC master menu calls
for the Lacto-Ovo-Veg religious diet tray to be provided with
2 packs of peanut butter as a protein substitute with hot
cereal or cold/dry cereal with bread, jelly, and butter for
the Wednesday breakfast. (Doc. 1, pp. 25-26). Starting on
March 22, 2017 and on an ongoing basis, Holt and Van
Deckerhoff have been putting meat on Plaintiff's
religious diet tray in the form of a breakfast sausage in
gravy while other religious diet trays continue to receive
the peanut butter and cereal option. (Doc. 1, pp. 26-27).
Plaintiff alleges this diet denies him adequate nutrition.
(Doc. 1, p. 26). Plaintiff wrote to Lashbrook 4 times between
March 22, 2017 through April 12, 2017 complaining about the
situation, but she failed to respond. (Doc. 1, p. 27).
also alleges that the IDOC master menu calls for a cold salad
tray for the majority of the lunch and dinner meals during
the week for the Lacto-Ovo-Veg diet, as well as other
religious diets. (Doc. 1, pp. 27-28). Beginning March 20,
2017 and on an ongoing basis afterwards, Theo has been
depriving Plaintiff of his cold salad trays, despite the fact
that other inmates on religious diets continue to receive
them. (Doc. 1, p. 28). On December 8, 2017 and on an ongoing
basis thereafter, Hanna, Winters, Kerns, Opoka, Van
Deckerhoff, Holt, Theo, Jan Doe, and Lashbrook have been
substituting apples for bananas on Plaintiff's food tray.
(Doc. 1, p. 40). Plaintiff wrote to Lashbrook 4 times between
March 22, 2017 through April 12, 2017 advising her of this
problem, but she never responded. (Doc. 1, p. 29).
Dietary Department at Menard used to use a computer-generated
adhesive sticker system that included information like the
inmate's name, prison I.D. number, cell location, and the
type of diet required. (Doc. 1, p. 36). The IDOC master menu
calls for the Lacto-Ovo-Veg religious diet tray to serve eggs
and cheese for breakfast on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and
whenever the “country breakfast” dinner meal is
served. (Doc. 1, p. 37). In late 2015, the Dietary Department
abandoned the computer-generated sticker system in favor of
handwritten notes, which are subject to human error. (Doc. 1,
p. 38). On December 8, 2017 and on an ongoing basis
afterwards, Jan Doe and Theo have provided Plaintiff with a
vegan diet tray instead of his Lacto-Ovo-Veg diet tray due to
mislabeling, which prevents him from getting eggs and cheese.
(Doc. 1, pp. 38-39). Plaintiff alleges ...