United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division
OPINION AND ORDER
P. SIMON, JUDGE
Magee, Jr., a prisoner without a lawyer, is a pre-trial
detainee in the St. Joseph County Jail. He alleges he has
kidney problems which required a special diet he did not
receive for three months. 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.
are entitled to be provided with adequate food. Knight v.
Wiseman, 590 F.3d 458, 463 (7th Cir. 2009). “In
evaluating the constitutionality of conditions or
restrictions of pretrial detention . . . the proper inquiry
is whether those conditions amount to punishment of the
detainee.” Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 535
(1979). In Kingsley v. Hendrickson, 576 U.S. __, __;
135 S.Ct. 2466 (2015), the United States Supreme Court
explained “in the absence of an expressed intent to
punish, a pretrial detainee can nevertheless prevail by
showing that the actions are not ‘rationally related to
a legitimate nonpunitive governmental purpose' or that
the actions ‘appear excessive in relation to that
purpose.'” Kingsley, 135 S.Ct. at 2473
alleges Dr. Tiemans and/or Dr. Wolff prescribed a special
diet for him because of his kidney problems. He alleges he
did not receive that diet from September 2018 to November
2018 and had infections and pain as a result. Magee alleges
Warden Lawson put a copy of the prescribed diet orders in her
files. He alleges all diets must be approved by her, but she
refused to approve his special diet or tell Wanda Johnson,
the food services supervisor, that he had a medically
prescribed diet. Based on these allegations, Magee has stated
a claim against Warden Lawson.
is also suing Wanda Johnson because she did not feed him the
medically prescribed special diet he told her he needed.
However, because Warden Lawson neither approved the special
diet nor told Johnson she had proof a doctor had prescribed
it, the complaint does not plausibly allege her decision to
continue to serve him a regular diet was not rationally
related to a legitimate nonpunitive governmental purpose.
is also suing the Chief Executive Officer of the food service
company, Eric J. Foss, who works in Chicago, not at the jail.
Magee says he wrote and told Foss he needed a special diet.
There is no general respondeat superior liability under 42
U.S.C. § 1983. “Only persons who cause or
participate in the violations are responsible.”
George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605, 609 (7th
Cir. 2007). Merely writing to an off-site supervisor is not
sufficient to make that person liable. Burks v.
Raemisch, 555 F.3d 592, 595 (7th Cir. 2009).
Magee is suing Nurse Lynn Henkle because she gave the medical
diet prescription paperwork to Warden Lawson. But since
Warden Lawson was in charge of approving special diets, that
was the right thing for her to do. Magee objects that she did
not do more to help him get the diet he had been prescribed,
but “'no prisoner is entitled to insist that one
employee do another's job,' and the division of labor
is critical to the efficient functioning of the
organization.” Aguilar v. Gaston-Camara, 861
F.3d 626, 633 (7th Cir. 2017) (quoting Burks v.
Raemisch, 555 F.3d 592, 594 (7th Cir. 2009).
these reasons, the court:
(1) GRANTS David Magee, Jr., leave to proceed against Warden
Lawson in her individual capacity for denying him a medically
prescribed diet for his kidney problems from September 2018
to November 2018 in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment;
(2) DISMISSES all other claims;
(3) DISMISSES Wanda Johnson, Eric J. Foss, and Lynn Henkle;
(4) DIRECTS the clerk and the United States Marshals Service,
as required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(d), to issue and serve
process with a copy of this order and the amended complaint
(ECF 8) on Warden Lawson at the Saint Joseph County Jail; and
(5) ORDERS, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(g)(2), Warden
Lawson to respond, as provided for in the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure and N.D. Ind. L.R. 10-1(b), only to the claim
for which the plaintiff has been ...