United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division
J. HALE, JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
Jamal Rashad Crawford, a pretrial detainee incarcerated in
the Louisville Metro Department of Corrections (LMDC), filed
a pro se complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983. This matter is before the Court on initial screening of
the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. For the
reasons that follow, the Court will dismiss the action.
SUMMARY OF CLAIMS
brings this action against LMDC Director Mark Bolton and
Kitchen Supervisor Ed Wesson in their official capacities. In
the complaint, Plaintiff claims that on June 10, 2017, he
“found a maggot in the pears amongst the food tray that
[he] was served to eat.” He asserts that Defendant
Wesson, who is employed by Defendant Bolton, “had the
opportunity to make sure that the maggot problem never
existed for [Plaintiff].” Plaintiff claims,
“There have been previous complaints of maggots found
in the food. Maggots have made their presence known through
out the kitchen that they've arrived within the canned
pears.” Plaintiff contends that Defendant Wesson's
awareness “of the maggots and how they arrive makes it
hard for me to understand why I've found it in my food
when they the (Pears) should've been removed from the
menu long ago.” Plaintiff alleges cruel and unusual
punishment and negligence. As relief, Plaintiff seeks
monetary and punitive damages, an injunction allowing him to
clean the kitchen, and for his “Non Support Debt [to
be] at a zero Balance.”
Plaintiff is a prisoner seeking relief against governmental
entities, officers, and/or employees, this Court must review
the instant action under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Under §
1915A, the trial court must review the complaint and dismiss
the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the court
determines that it is frivolous or malicious, fails to state
a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary
relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.
See § 1915A(b)(1), (2); McGore v.
Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d 601, 604 (6th Cir. 1997),
overruled on other grounds by Jones v. Bock, 549
U.S. 199 (2007).
is legally frivolous when it lacks an arguable basis either
in law or in fact. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S.
319, 325 (1989). The trial court may, therefore, dismiss a
claim as frivolous where it is based on an indisputably
meritless legal theory or where the factual contentions are
clearly baseless. Id. at 327.
order to survive dismissal for failure to state a claim,
“a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). “A
claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads
factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged.” Id. (citing Twombly, 550
U.S. at 556). “[A] district court must (1) view the
complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff and
(2) take all well-pleaded factual allegations as true.”
Tackett v. M & G Polymers, USA, LLC, 561 F.3d
478, 488 (6th Cir. 2009) (citing Gunasekera v.
Irwin, 551 F.3d 461, 466 (6th Cir. 2009) (citations
omitted)). “A pleading that offers ‘labels and
conclusions' or ‘a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action will not do.' Nor does a
complaint suffice if it tenders ‘naked
assertion[s]' devoid of ‘further factual
enhancement.'” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678
(quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 557).
42 U.S.C. § 1983
was not a convicted prisoner at the time of the events
alleged; he was a pretrial detainee. As such, the Eighth
Amendment's proscription against cruel and unusual
punishment does not apply to him. Watkins v. City of
Battle Creek, 273 F.3d 682, 685 (6th Cir. 2001).
However, “[t]he Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth
Amendment extends the protection of the Eighth Amendment to
pretrial detainees such as Plaintiff.” Harrell v.
Grainger Cty., Tenn., 391 F. App'x 519, 522 (6th
Cir. 2010). Plaintiff's claim, therefore, will proceed
under the Fourteenth Amendment but be analyzed like an Eighth
Amendment claim. See Bass v. Strode, No.
1:12CV-P182-R, 2012 WL 5834123, at *2 (W.D. Ky. Nov. 16,
Eighth Amendment claim has both an objective and subjective
component: (1) a sufficiently grave deprivation of a basic
human need; and (2) a sufficiently culpable state of mind.
Wilson v. Seiter, 501 U.S. 294, 298 (1991). A
prison's conditions of confinement are sufficiently grave
if they fall beneath “the minimal civilized measure of
life's necessities” as measured by a
“contemporary standard of decency.” Rhodes v.
Chapman, 452 U.S. 337, 347 (1981). A prison official
inflicting such conditions acts with a sufficiently culpable
state of mind if he does so with “deliberate
indifference.” Wilson, 501 U.S. at 303.
state a constitutional violation for unsanitary food
preparation, a prisoner must do more than allege a single or
isolated incident of contamination. Hamm v. DeKalb
Cty., 774 F.2d 1567, 1575 (11th Cir. 1985). “The
fact that the [prison] food occasionally contains foreign
objects or sometimes is served cold, while unpleasant, does
not amount to a constitutional deprivation.” Smith
v. Younger, No. 95-5482, 1999 WL 623355, at *2 (6th Cir.
Aug. 9, 1999) (affirming district court's dismissal of
plaintiff's Eighth Amendment claim based on the presence
of a worm in her peanut butter); see also Chavis v.
Fairman, 51 F.3d 275 (7th Cir. 1995) (holding that
occasional service of spoiled food cannot be said to deprive
inmates of basic nutritional needs); Fant v. Jones,
No. CV 14-3574-SJO (SP), 2015 WL 6688268, at *3 (C.D. Cal.
Sept. 14, 2015) (finding no Eighth Amendment claim where the
plaintiff alleged that on three occasions over a two-year
period he was served meals with insects either in his food or
on his tray); Wiley v. Dep't of Corr., No.
11-97-HRW, 2012 WL 5878678, at *8 (E.D. Ky. Nov. 21, 2012)
(holding that one incident of discovering a dead rat in soup
was not actionable); Bennett v. Misner, No.
02-1662-HA, 2004 WL 2091473, at *20-21 (D. Or. Sept. 17,
2004) (“Neither isolated instances of food poisoning,
temporary lapses in sanitary food service, nor service of
meals contaminated with maggots are sufficiently serious to
constitute an Eighth Amendment violation”),
aff'd, 180 F. App'x 732 (9th Cir. 2006).
Plaintiff alleges that there had been previous complaints of
maggots in food, he alleges only a single incident when his
food contained maggots. He does not allege that his food is
regularly infested with maggots, and he does not allege any
harm. Therefore, the allegations do not rise to the ...