United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
ANTWON D. JENKINS, Plaintiff,
RANDY COBB, Defendant.
PHIL GILBERT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
a prisoner civil-rights case brought under 42 U.S.C. §
1983. Plaintiff Antwon D. Jenkins asserts claims under the
First and Eight Amendments to the United States Constitution.
(ECF No. 22). Defendant Randy Cobb filed a motion for summary
sudgment, (ECF No. 57), and Plaintiff filed a cross-motion
for summary judgment, (ECF No. 61). Magistrate Judge Mark
Beatty issued a report recommending this Court to deny
summary judgment for either party on Counts 1, 2 and 5, and
to grant summary judgment in favor of Defendant on Count 4.
(ECF No. 67). Plaintiff objected to the latter
recommendation, (ECF No. 72), prompting de novo review by
this Court. The Court agrees with Magistrate Judge Beatty.
PROCEDURAL & FACTUAL HISTORY
Court conducted a threshold review of the complaint in order
to assist Plaintiff in articulating his claims. (ECF No. 22).
The Court identified five claims but dismissed Count 3 from
the onset for failure to state a claim. Plaintiff only
objects to Magistrate Judge Beatty's recommendation to
grant summary judgment in favor of Defendant on Count 4.
Accordingly, finding no clear error, the Court adopts the
report's factual and legal findings on Counts 1, 2, and
was an inmate at White County Jail in Carmi, Illinois during
the events relevant to this case. (ECF No. 22 at 1). In Count
4, Plaintiff argues that Defendant-the Jail Administrator at
White County Jail-intentionally served Plaintiff “a
consistent diet of unhealthy food.” (ECF No. 21- 1 at
1). Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that he was served the
same three meals every day: a bowl of cereal for breakfast; a
microwavable sandwich and a small bag of potato chips for
lunch; and a microwavable “T.V.” meal for dinner.
(ECF No. 21-1 at 1). Plaintiff states that Defendant was
required to rotate the meals served to inmates every ninety
days. (ECF No. 21-1 at 1). Plaintiff also maintains that
Defendant failed to respond to a written complaint that he
submitted jointly with other inmates. (ECF No. 21-1 at 1).
Finally, Plaintiff contends that the food was often outdated
and molded. (ECF No. 21-1 at 2). As a result, Plaintiff
states that he “became sick, experienced diarrhea,
experienced an upset stomach, blood in his stool, boils,
vomiting, hemorrhoids, and difficulty urinating.” (ECF
No. 61 at 13).
response, Defendant asserts that Plaintiff “was
properly fed at all times” and “received a
well-rounded, nutritional meal which satisfies the
nutritional guidelines set by the Illinois Department of
Corrections.” (ECF No. 58 at 2). Additionally,
Defendant attests that Plaintiff was placed on a
“medical diet” by his physician that entitled
Plaintiff to meals from Little Giant's Deli. (ECF Nos.
58- 1 at 2, 61-1 at 1). Plaintiff denies being placed on a
medical diet, (ECF No. 61 at 12), and his initial Arrest and
Booking Detail Page indicates that Plaintiff did not
“have a special diet prescribed by a physician, ”
(ECF No. 61 at 25).
LAW & ANALYSIS
Rule 73.1(b) of the United States District Court for the
Southern District of Illinois states the following:
A District Judge shall make a de novo determination
of those portions of the report or specified proposed
findings or recommendations to which objection is made and
may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the
findings or recommendations made by the Magistrate Judge.
judgment is appropriate where the record shows that there is
no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the moving
party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56. A “genuine dispute” exists when
a rational factfinder, considering the evidence in the
summary judgment record, could find in favor of the
nonmovant. Ricci v. DeStefano, 557 U.S. 557, 587
(2009). Accordingly, a dispute is genuine where there is a
real basis for it in the evidentiary record. Scott v.
Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 380 (2007). The moving party can
meet its burden by pointing out for the Court an absence of
evidence in support of the nonmovant's claims.
Spierer v. Rossman, 798 F.3d 502, 508 (7th Cir.
2015). “Upon such a showing, the nonmovant must then
‘make a showing sufficient to establish the existence
of an element essential to that party's case.'
” Modrowski v. Pigatto, 712 F.3d 1166, 1168
(7th Cir. 2013) (quoting Celotex Corp. v. Catrett,
477 U.S. 317, 425 (1986)). The nonmovant “must do more
than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to
the material facts, ” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co.
v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986), and may
not rest upon the mere allegations in the pleadings or
conclusory statements in affidavits, Celotex Corp.,
477 U.S. at 324.
Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits
“cruel and unusual punishment.” This includes
inhumane conditions of confinement. Whitley v.
Albers, 475 U.S. 312, 319 (1986). Detainees have a right
to “nutritionally adequate food that is prepared and
served under conditions which do not present an immediate
danger to [their] health and well-being.” French v.
Owen, 777 F.2d 1250, 1255 (7th Cir. 1985); Prude v.
Clarke, 675 F.3d 732, 734 (7th Cir. 2012)
(“Deliberate withholding of nutritious food or
substitution of tainted or otherwise sickening food . . .
would violate the Eight Amendment.”). With that said,
“[t]he Eighth Amendment does not require prisons to
provide prisoners with more salubrious air, healthier food,
or cleaner water than are enjoyed by substantial numbers of
free Americans.” Carroll v. DeTella, 255 F.3d
470, 472 (7th Cir. 2001).
succeed, Plaintiff must first show that the meals served
denied him “the minimal civilized measure of life's
necessities.” Rhodes v. Chapman, 452 U.S. 337,
347 (1981). The deprivation must be objectively serious
enough to pose a substantial risk of serious harm. Farmer
v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834 (1994). Plaintiff must
then establish that Defendant acted with deliberate
indifference-that Defendant was aware of and disregarded an
excessive risk to Plaintiff's health. Id.
McRoy v. Aramark Correctional Servs., Inc., 268 Fed.
App'x 479, 481 (7th Cir. Mar. 13, 2008), the
prisoner-plaintiff alleged that the jailer-defendant served
him bloody meat and sour milk. The plaintiff further alleged
that the spoiled food made him ill, and he allegedly
experienced “upset stomach, diarrhea, vomiting,
hemorrhoids, blood in his stool, swollen hands and feet,
boils, and problems urinating.” Id. The
plaintiff was never diagnosed with food poisoning.
Id. He filed numerous grievances to the defendant;
the defendant replaced the meals but disputed that the
plaintiff was ever served spoiled food. Id. To
support his Eighth Amendment claim, the plaintiff presented
the court with his own testimony and that of a jail doctor
that suggested “that, in certain circumstances,
ingesting undercooked and spoiled food and milk can cause
severe illness.” Id. at 482. The Seventh
Circuit first noted that it was a “close question as to
whether this evidence is enough to raise a triable issue on
whether the food and milk exposed him to an
‘objectively serious' danger.” Id.
But in affirming the ...