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Jackson v. Brooks

United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin

March 7, 2018




         Plaintiff Joseph Jackson, who is representing himself, filed a civil rights complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This case is assigned to U.S. Magistrate Judge Nancy Joseph; however, because not all parties have had the opportunity to consent to magistrate judge jurisdiction, the case was randomly referred to this U.S. District Court judge for screening of the complaint. After entry of this Order, the case will be returned to Judge Joseph for further proceedings.

         Motion to Proceed without Prepayment of the Filing Fee

         The Prison Litigation Reform Act gives courts discretion to allow prisoners to proceed with their lawsuits without prepaying the $350.00 filing fee, as long as they comply with certain requirements. 28 U.S.C. § 1915. One of those requirements is that the prisoner pay an initial partial filing fee. On December 28, 2017, Judge Joseph ordered Jackson to pay an initial partial filing fee of $2.04. He paid that fee on February 20, 2018. The court will grant Jackson's motion. He must pay the remainder of the filing fee over time in the manner explained at the end of this Order.

         Screening of the Complaint

         The law requires the court to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The court must dismiss a complaint if the plaintiff raises claims that are legally "frivolous or malicious, " that fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or that seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).

         To state a claim, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, "that is plausible on its face." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows a court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556).

         To proceed under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege that: 1) he was deprived of a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States; and 2) the defendant was acting under color of state law. Buchanan-Moore v. Cty. of Milwaukee, 570 F.3d 824, 827 (7th Cir. 2009) (citing Kramer v. Vill. of N. Fond du Lac, 384 F.3d 856, 861 (7th Cir. 2004)); see also Gomez v. Toledo, 446 U.S. 635, 640 (1980). The court gives a pro se plaintiff's allegations, "however inartfully pleaded, " a liberal construction. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)).

         Allegations in the Complaint

         Jackson explains that he arrived at Green Bay Correctional Institution in 2017. He asserts that his medical records were sent to health services; the records indicated that he had been diagnosed with an allergy to apples. Jackson states that exposure to apples “could lead to his death, as breathing passage swell and close.” ECF No. 1 ¶ 20. Jackson states that the information regarding his allergy was also forwarded to the dietary department to ensure his meals were free of apple products.

         Jackson asserts that he spoke to defendant Martin about his allergy, and Martin informed Jackson that he would not receive a food tray free of apple products. Martin allegedly told Jackson that the institution does not provide food substitutions for apple allergies.

         Jackson explains that he was forced to accept food trays containing foods that his dietician had warned him to avoid, such as apple sauce, apple bars, and fruit salad with apples. Jackson asserts that Martin and Brooks repeatedly told him to eat around the apples; however, Jackson explains that there is a lot of cross-contamination and that he was often unsure whether food contained apple products.

         Jackson alleges that Martin and Brooks informed the complaint examiner that substitutions are not given for allergies to foods such as onions, apples, and tomatoes. They allegedly stated that the Green Bay food services department requires inmates to use a “self-select process.” Id. ¶ 15. According to Jackson, Martin instructed him to contact health services to get documentation confirming his allergy and ordering an apple-free food tray. Jackson states that he contacted Lutsey to enforce the dietician's order. He does not indicate whether or how Lutsey responded.

         The ...

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