Augusta v. Mahaffey et al
ORDER DISMISSING CASE with prejudice for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. Plaintiff is ADVISED that this dismissal shall count as one of his allotted strikes under the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g). Signed by Judge Staci M. Yandle on 9/4/2018. (tjk)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
Case No. 18-cv-905-SMY
C/O BERG, and
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
YANDLE, District Judge:
Plaintiff Quennel Augusta is an inmate, currently incarcerated at Jacksonville
Correctional Center (“Jacksonville”). Augusta and his co-plaintiff, Shawn Flores, originally
filed a civil rights Complaint in Augusta, et al. v. Employees of Vandalia Correctional Center, et
al., Case No. 17-cv-798-SMY. At Augusta’s request, Flores’ claims were severed into a new
action and Augusta was granted leave to file an Amended Complaint. The Amended Complaint
did not survive preliminary review, and Augusta filed a Second Amended Complaint on April
After reviewing the Second Amended Complaint, the Court severed a number of
Augusta’s claims from the original case into separate actions. (Doc. 1). The instant case
concerns Count 6, which arose at Vandalia Correctional Center (“Vandalia”) and is described as
Count 6 –
Eighth Amendment claim against Mahaffey and Berg for denying Augusta
meals on unspecified occasions.
Count 6 did not survive screening under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, and Augusta was granted leave to
file a Third Amended Complaint. (Doc. 10).
The Third Amended Complaint is now before the Court for a preliminary review
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.
Under § 1915A, the Court is required to screen prisoner
Complaints to filter out non-meritorious claims. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). Any portion of a
Complaint that is legally frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted, or seeks money damages from a defendant who by law is immune from such relief, must
be dismissed. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).
Third Amended Complaint
Augusta makes the following allegations in his Third Amended Complaint: Officer
Mahaffey denied Augusta dinner, leaving him “to starve from dinner time at 3:30 p.m. until
breakfast time at 5:00 a.m.” (Doc. 11, p. 5). Mahaffey allegedly denied Augusta dinner because
he lined up “a few seconds” too late. Id.
On a separate occasion, Officer Berg punished
Augusta for smiling and giggling by forcing him to throw away his breakfast and to stand outside
for 10 minutes during cold weather, with his face touching a dirty correctional van. (Doc. 11, pp.
5-7). Warden Waggoner is subject to liability in connection with these incidents because she
allowed or facilitated the complained of conduct. (Doc. 11, pp. 5- 9).
The Court will modify Count 6 to reflect the allegations in the Third Amended
Complaint. The parties and the Court will use these designations in all future pleadings and
orders, unless otherwise directed by a judicial officer of this Court.
Eighth Amendment claim against Mahaffey for denying Augusta
dinner on a single occasion, and against Waggoner for allowing
and/or facilitating Mahaffey’s conduct.
Eighth Amendment claim against Berg for punishing Augusta by
forcing him to (1) throw away his breakfast and (2) stand outside,
during cold weather, for approximately 10 minutes with his face
touching a dirty correctional van, and against Waggoner for
allowing and/or facilitating Berg’s conduct.
The Third Amended Complaint fails to state a viable Eighth Amendment claim against
Defendants Mahaffey, Berg, or Waggoner. To sufficiently plead a conditions of confinement
claim, a plaintiff must plead facts sufficient to show that: (1) the alleged condition, viewed
objectively, is sufficiently serious; and (2) defendants acted with subjective deliberate
indifference towards the condition. Board v. Farnham, 394 F.3d 469, 479–80 (7th Cir. 2005).
“Prison conditions may be harsh and uncomfortable without violating the Eighth Amendment's
prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.” Dixon v. Godinez, 114 F.3d 640, 642 (7th
Cir. 1997). See also Turner v. Miller, 301 F.3d 599, 603 (7th Cir. 2002) (“extreme deprivations
are required to make out a conditions-of-confinement claim.”).
Plaintiff’s allegations pertaining to being denied a single meal on two separate occasions
do not meet this standard. See e.g., Curiel v. Stigler, 2008 WL 904894, at *5 (N.D. Ill. Mar. 31,
2008) (“One or two missed meals are not actionable as Eighth Amendment violations.”); Woods
v. Schmeltz, 2014 WL 4947340, at *1 (C.D. Ill. Oct. 2, 2014) (denial of one lunch tray did not
state a claim); Johnson v. Arbeiter, 2010 WL 4717642, at *2 (S.D. Ill. Nov. 15, 2010) (inmate
deprived of one meal did not state constitutional violation); Brown v. Madison Police Dept.,
2003 WL 23095753, *4 (W.D. Wis. May 15, 2003) (missing two meals on one occasion does not
rise to constitutional violation). Nor do his allegations regarding him standing in cold weather
for 10 minutes, with his face touching a dirty van. See Rhodes v. Chapman, 101 S. Ct. 2393,
2400 (1981); Harris v. Fleming, 839 F.2d 1232, 1236 (7th Cir. 1988). Accordingly, Counts 6A
and 6B are subject to dismissal for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.
Leave to Amend
The Court has considered whether to allow Augusta to submit another amended
complaint in order to state a viable claim, but has determined that doing so would be futile. At
this point, Augusta has been given numerous opportunities to state a viable claim; all
unsuccessful. Pro se plaintiffs are afforded great deference, but this Court is not required to
allow them to amend ad nauseam where doing so would be futile. See Bogie v. Rosenberg, 705
F.3d 603, 608 (7th Cir. 2013); Garcia v. City of Chicago, 24 F.3d 966, 970 (7th Cir. 1994).
Thus, Plaintiff will not be given leave to amend, and this case will be dismissed with prejudice.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Third Amended Complaint and this action are
DISMISSED with prejudice for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.
Plaintiff is ADVISED that this dismissal shall count as one of his allotted “strikes” under
the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g).
Plaintiff is further ADVISED that his obligation to pay the filing fee for this action was
incurred at the time the action was filed, thus the filing fee of $350.00 remains due and payable.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1); Lucien v. Jockisch, 133 F.3d 464, 467 (7th Cir. 1998).
If Plaintiff wishes to appeal this Order, he may file a notice of appeal with this Court
within thirty (30) days of the entry of judgment. FED. R. APP. P. 4(a)(1)(A). A motion for leave
to appeal in forma pauperis MUST set forth the issues the Plaintiff plans to present on appeal.
See FED. R. APP. P. 24(a)(1)(C). If Plaintiff does choose to appeal, he will be liable for the
$505.00 appellate filing fee irrespective of the outcome of the appeal. See FED. R. APP. P. 3(e);
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2); Ammons v. Gerlinger, 547 F.3d 724, 725-26 (7th Cir. 2008); Sloan v.
Lesza, 181 F.3d 857, 858-59 (7th Cir. 1999); Lucien, 133 F.3d at 467. Finally, if the appeal is
found to be nonmeritorious, Plaintiff may also incur another “strike.” A proper and timely
motion filed pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e) may toll the 30-day appeal
deadline. FED. R. APP. P. 4(a)(4). A Rule 59(e) motion must be filed no more than twenty-eight
(28) days after the entry of the judgment, and this 28-day deadline cannot be extended.
The Clerk shall CLOSE THIS CASE and enter judgment accordingly.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
DATED: September 4, 2018
s/ STACI M. YANDLE
United States District Court
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