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Ingrassia v. Blake

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

September 15, 2014

THOMAS J. INGRASSIA, Plaintiff,
v.
ALAN BLAKE, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

JEAN C. HAMILTON, District Judge.

This matter is before the Court on the Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Defendants Alan Blake, Jay Englehart, Beth Weinkein, Carol Dickneite, and Marybeth Rowe. (ECF No. 65). The matter is fully briefed and ready for disposition.[1]

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff is a civilly committed sex offender who was committed to the Missouri Department of Mental Health Sexual Offender Treatment and Rehabilitative Services facility ("SORTS"), no later than April, 2001. (ECF Nos. 66 (Defendants' Statement of Uncontroverted Material Facts ("DSUMF")), ¶ 1; 69.2 (Plaintiff's Response to DSUMF ("PRDSUMF")), ¶ 1). Plaintiff alleges in his Amended Complaint that during the period from May 27, 2009, through March 4, 2010, while he resided at SORTS, Defendants denied him adequate food and nutrition in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. (ECF No. 13 ("Amend. Compl.")).

Plaintiff originally was admitted to the SORTS facility in November, 1999. (DSUMF, ¶ 1). Plaintiff escaped from the SORTS facility in October, 2001, and returned there in August, 2008. ( Id., ¶¶ 2, 3; Amend. Compl., ¶ 26). Plaintiff claims that he was suffering from a ruptured lumbar disc at that time, and had back surgery on October 22, 2008. (Amend. Compl., ¶ 27). According to Plaintiff, although he weighed 145 pounds at the time of the surgery, that was 25 pounds below his normal body weight of 170 pounds. (Id.). Plaintiff acknowledges that upon his arrival at SORTS, he was receiving three regular meals per day. ( Id., ¶ 26).

Plaintiff alleges that on May 27, 2009, Rowe told him he would not be able to go to the dining room, and that he would receive two "health shakes" in lieu of a regular meal. (Amend. Compl., ¶¶ 28, 30). Plaintiff claims that he told Blake about the dietary restriction, but Blake refused to discuss the issue. ( Id., ¶ 29). Plaintiff asserts he again was forbidden to go to the dining room on May 29, 2009, and for a period of twenty-four hours he was offered two health shakes for each meal. ( Id., ¶ 31).

Plaintiff used a dedicated phone line to call Dickneite at the Office of Consumer Safety for the Department of Mental Health. (Amend. Compl., ¶ 34). Plaintiff informed her about the dietary restriction, and Dickneite responded that the health shakes were nourishing and well balanced, and provided a varied diet. ( Id., ¶¶ 34, 35).

Plaintiff claims that on June 8, 2009, he complained to the nurse on duty that staff members were kicking him in the heels while he was returning from the dining room. (Amend. Compl., ¶ 36). According to Plaintiff, on June 9, 2009, Rowe said to him, "If you ever do anything to cause a staff member to kick your heels while off the ward, you will be confined to the ward and given healthshakes [ sic ].'" ( Id., ¶ 40). Plaintiff states that Rowe then told Englehart to write an order for a twenty-four hour restriction to the ward each time Plaintiff received a rule violation. ( Id., ¶ 42). Rowe allegedly further "ordered employees to create reasons to give Plaintiff a rule violation as often as possible to force him to be confined to the ward and be fed healthshakes [ sic ]." ( Id., ¶ 43).

Plaintiff claims that between May 27, 2009, and July 12, 2009, he was confined to the ward "many times, " and forced to drink health shakes. (Amend. Compl., ¶ 45).[2] His body weight was recorded at 166 pounds in July, 2009. ( Id., ¶ 44).

Plaintiff asserts that on July 12, 2009, he decided he was not going to drink health shakes anymore. (Amend. Compl., ¶ 46). Plaintiff therefore emptied one of his health shakes into two Styrofoam cups, heated the cups in the microwave, took them to the nursing station, and "slammed each cup with a heavy book, which blew-up the contents in a spray of chocolate. Plaintiff then said, I am entitled to a regular meal, so do not try to give me healthshakes [ sic ] anymore or I will blow them up too.'" ( Id., ¶ 47; DSUMF, ¶ 9).[3] After this incident Plaintiff did not receive health shakes; instead, when Plaintiff was restricted to the ward he received bag lunches and a snack at night. (DSUMF, ¶ 11; Pl.'s Dep., PP. 53-56). When Plaintiff did not receive a bag lunch, he received a regular meal tray with no hot liquids. (ECF No. 69.1 (Plaintiff's Statement of Material Facts ("PSMF")), & 10). On July 23, 2009, Plaintiff claims Englehart ordered that Plaintiff receive no liquids, hot or cold, other than water from the ward water fountain. (PSMF, & 11; Defendants' Response to Plaintiff's Statement of Uncontroverted Material Facts, & 11; Amend. Compl., ¶ 51). Plaintiff alleges he filed many grievances on this issue, which were denied. (Amend. Compl., ¶ 52).

Plaintiff claims that on September 17, 2009, "after four days of being forced to drink healthshakes [ sic ], Plaintiff blew-up two more cups containing healthshakes [ sic ]." (Amend. Compl., ¶ 53). Plaintiff avers that after this incident he was fed "finger foods, " which generally consisted of "one sandwich, a bag of chips, a small pack of cookies, and a piece of fruit." (Id.). On September 19, 2009, Plaintiff's body weight was recorded at 162 pounds. ( Id., ¶ 54).

Plaintiff states that on October 17, 2009, he "received cold soup. He smashed it with a book, along with a cup of red Kool-Aid, and told employees, "I do not want cold soup anymore, I want hot soup like everybody else.'" (Amend. Compl., ¶ 55). According to Plaintiff, the next day his bag lunch was missing the cookies, and when he complained, his meals were further restricted to one sandwich and one piece of fruit. ( Id., ¶¶ 56, 57). Plaintiff filed a grievance about this withholding, but it was denied. ( Id., ¶ 59).

Plaintiff asserts he again called Dickneite on October 22, 2009, to complain about only receiving a sandwich and a piece of fruit, but she told him that it was sufficient. (Amend. Compl., ¶ 60). Plaintiff claims he then talked to Englehart about the food restrictions on October 27, 2009, and Englehart responded that "he ordered the restrictions intending to cause Plaintiff so much suffering that he would decide to follow the rules' rather than be tortured." ( Id., ¶ 61).

Plaintiff asserts Englehart ordered that he begin taking a daily multivitamin on November 4, 2009. (Amend. Compl., ¶ 64). According to Plaintiff, the multivitamin was administered due to "poor nutrition." ( Id., ¶ 66). Plaintiff avers that his bodyweight was recorded at 152 pounds on November 12, 2009, ...


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