United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division
OPINION AND ORDER
P . Simon Judge
Turner Bey, a pro se prisoner, filed a complaint
against eight defendants as a result of being served soy at
the Indiana State Prison (ISP). A filing by an unrepresented
party “is to be liberally construed, and a pro se
complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less
stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by
lawyers.” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94
(2007) (quotation marks and citations omitted). Nevertheless,
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, I must review the merits
of a prisoner complaint and dismiss it if the action is
frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a
defendant who is immune from such relief. “In order to
state a claim under § 1983 a plaintiff must allege: (1)
that defendants deprived him of a federal constitutional
right; and (2) that the defendants acted under color of state
law.” Savory v. Lyons, 469 F.3d 667, 670 (7th
Bey's complaint is centered around the fact that ISP
serves food containing soy to inmates. He believes soy
presents a health danger to humans. Turner Bey sues Indiana
Governor Eric Holcomb, the Indiana Department of Correction
(IDOC), ISP Superintendent Ron Neal, Aramark, Aramark
Supervisor Mr. Peoples, Aramark Contract Monitor John
Schilling, Mr. Crane, and an unidentified ISP dietician.
Turner Bey seeks money damages and injunctive relief.
are entitled to adequate food. Knight v. Wiseman,
590 F.3d 458, 463 (7th Cir. 2009). In evaluating an Eighth
Amendment claim, courts conduct both an objective and a
subjective inquiry. Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825,
834 (1994). The objective prong asks whether the alleged
deprivation is “sufficiently serious” so that
“a prison official's act results in the denial of
the minimal civilized measure of life's
necessities.” Id. The subjective prong asks
whether the defendant was deliberately indifferent.
“[C]onduct is deliberately indifferent when the
official has acted in an intentional or criminally reckless
manner, i.e., the defendant must have known that the
plaintiff was at serious risk of being harmed and decided not
to do anything to prevent that harm from occurring even
though he could have easily done so.” Board v.
Farnham, 394 F.3d 469, 478 (7th Cir. 2005) (quotation
marks, brackets, and citation omitted).
reading of the complaint and its attachments, it is clear
that Turner Bey believes that consuming a soy-rich diet
violates the Eighth Amendment. It does not. Today, foods
containing soy are widely consumed and federal regulations
permit food labels to advertise the health benefits of
consuming food containing soy. See 20 C.F.R. §
101.82. As such, there is no general consensus that soy poses
a health hazard, much less an unreasonable one. Though
“the safety of soy is a topic of current debate and
study and has been for some time[, t]hat is not enough to
find an Eighth Amendment violation.” Harris v.
Brown, 3:07-CV-3225, 2014 WL 4948229 (C.D. Ill.
September 30, 2014) (collecting studies and expert opinions);
see also Green v. Wexford Health Sources, No. 12 C
50130, 2016 WL 1214825, *10 (N.D. Ill. March 29, 2016).
Indeed, I have not found any court in this Circuit to have
ruled that inmates being served a soy-rich diet states any
such constitutional claim. Riley-El v. Godinez, No.
13 C 8656, 2015 WL 4572322 (N.D. Ill. July 27, 2015)
(collecting cases); Adams v. Talbor, No. 13-2221,
2013 WL 5940630 (C.D. Ill. Nov. 6, 2013). Thus,
Turner-Bey's general complaints regarding a soy-based
diet do not state a claim.
serving soy to inmates does not in and of itself violate the
constitution, Turner Bey may be under the belief that the soy
ISP is serving to him is otherwise dangerous. Indeed, he
alleges that the soy is labeled “not for human
consumption.” But he does not allege that he has in
fact been personally harmed by the soy served at the prison;
he simply claims that all soy is dangerous. Without more, he
has not alleged enough facts to proceed past initial review.
But, if Turner Bey believes he can plausibly allege that the
soy he is being served at ISP is dangerous - other than his
general belief that all soy is dangerous - he can raise and
articulate that claim in an amended complaint. Luevano v.
WalMart Stores, Inc., 722 F.3d 1014, 1022-23, 1025 (7th
Cir. 2013); Loubser v. Thacker, 440 F.3d 439, 443
(7th Cir. 2006).
clerk is DIRECTED to place this cause number on a blank
Prisoner Complaint form (INND Rev. 8/16) and sent it to Akeem
Akeem Turner Bey is GRANTED to June 18, 2018, to file an
amended complaint; and
Akeem Turner Bey is CAUTIONED that if he does not respond by
the deadline, this case will be dismissed without further
notice pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A ...