United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART MOTION FOR
R. SWEENEY II, JUDGE
Willard Purvis, an inmate at the Wabash Valley Correctional
Facility (“Wabash Valley”), brought this action
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that he was denied
a job in the prison kitchen and that this action was the
result of retaliation against him in violation of his First
Amendment rights. He sues Ms. Adams, Daniel Bedwell, Mr.
Hollingsworth, and Amy Strader, food service employees who
are employed by Aramark Correctional Services
(“Aramark”). He also sues Aramark alleging that
Aramark engaged in a policy or practice of retaliating
against prisoners. The defendants have moved for summary
judgment on Mr. Purvis's claims. Mr. Purvis has responded
and the defendants have replied. For the following reasons,
the motion for summary judgment is granted in part
and denied in part.
Summary Judgment Standard
judgment is appropriate when the movant shows that there is
no genuine dispute as to any material fact and that the
movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a). A “material
fact” is one that “might affect the outcome of
the suit.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,
477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A dispute about a material fact is
genuine only “if the evidence is such that a reasonable
jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.”
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. If no reasonable jury
could find for the non-moving party, then there is no
“genuine” dispute. Scott v. Harris, 550
U.S. 372, 380 (2007).
survive a motion for summary judgment, the non-moving party
must set forth specific, admissible evidence showing that
there is a material issue for trial. Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). The Court views the
record in the light most favorable to the non-moving party
and draws all reasonable inferences in that party's
favor. Barbera v. Pearson Education, Inc., 906 F.3d
621, 628 (7th Cir. 2018). The Court cannot weigh evidence or
make credibility determinations on summary judgment because
those tasks are left to the fact-finder. Johnson v.
Advocate Health & Hospitals Corp., 892 F.3d 887, 893
(7th Cir. 2018).
Bedwell is the Food Services Director for Aramark at Wabash
Valley. Dkt. 35-1 ¶ 2. Mr. Bedwell oversees all aspects
of food service at the Wabash Valley. Id. ¶ 3.
The Indiana Department of Correction (“IDOC”)
expects Mr. Bedwell to report any safety and security
concerns he may have with regards to inmate work assignments
to the Custody Department. Id. ¶ 6.
Strader is the lead supervisor for Aramark at Wabash Valley.
Dkt. 35-2 ¶ 2. Ms. Strader's job duties include
placing, evaluating, and training offenders at Wabash Valley.
Ms. Strader has the authority to place inmates for positions
in the kitchen at Wabash Valley. Id. ¶ 3.
Booker held a position as a Sergeant in the Custody
Department for the IDOC. Dkt. 35-1 ¶ 5.
obtain a position in the kitchen at Wabash Valley, an inmate
must fill out a request for interview form. Dkt. 35-1 ¶
4. This form is then passed on to the Custody Department.
Id. The Custody Department investigates the inmate
requesting the job assignment. Custody investigates any gang
activity, behavioral issues, and security concerns regarding
the inmate. Id. Once their investigation is complete
the Custody Department then determines if the inmate should
be sent for an interview. Id. Aramark is then sent a
list of inmates available for interview. Id.
August 24, 2017, Ms. Booker from the Custody Department
contacted Mr. Bedwell as part of her investigation of Mr.
Purvis. Id. ¶ 5. Mr. Bedwell informed Ms.
Booker that he believed Mr. Purvis presented a security risk
to Mr. Bedwell and his employees because of a pending lawsuit
that Mr. Purvis had against Bedwell and
Aramark. Id. ¶ 7. In his lawsuit Mr.
Purvis claimed that he was allergic to mustard, and that Mr.
Bedwell was denying him a diet free of mustard, which was
causing him harm. Id. As a result of the allegations
that Mr. Bedwell was causing harm to Mr. Purvis by denying
him his requested diet, Mr. Bedwell states that he was
concerned regarding his personal safety and the safety of his
Purvis has never threatened Mr. Bedwell, any food service
employee, or other prisoner working in the kitchen. Dkt. 47,
at 9, ¶ 14, 15.
the August 24, 2017 email, Ms. Booker called Ms. Strader to
discuss Mr. Purvis. During this conversation Ms. Booker told
Ms. Strader that Mr. Purvis had a lawsuit pending against
Aramark. This was first time Strader heard about any lawsuit
between Aramark and Mr. Purvis. Dkt. 35-2. ¶ 5.
Booker told Mr. Purvis that “she was informed that [Mr.
Purvis] would not be hire[d] in the kitchen by numerous
ARAMARK employees, including Mr. Bedwell, Mrs. Strader, Mr.