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White v. Taylor

United States District Court, Third Circuit

August 28, 2013

ERIC TAYLOR, et al., Defendants.

Mr. Kashief White, 654775/SBI 739645-C, Bayside State Prison, Leesburg, NJ, Plaintiff Pro Se.

Matthew J. Behr, Esq., MARSHALL, DENNEHEY, WARNER, COLEMAN & GOGGIN Cherry Hill, NJ, Attorney for Defendants Aramark, Inc., Aramark, Correctional Services, LLC, and Dietician Carey.

Anne E. Walters, Esq., Office of County Counsel, Camden, NJ, Attorney for Defendants Warden Eric Taylor, Deputy, Warden Christopher Fossler, Deputy Warden Anthony, Pizzaro, Rodney Greco, Camden County and Camden County, Freeholders.


JEROME B. SIMANDLE, Chief District Judge.


This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's motion to file an amended complaint against Defendants Aramark, Inc. ("Aramark"), Aramark Correctional Services LLC ("ACS"), and ACS's Dietician Carey (collectively, "Aramark Defendants"). [Docket Item 44.] This action concerns meals that the Aramark Defendants served to Plaintiff while he was a pretrial detainee at the Camden County Correctional Facility ("CCCF") in Camden, N.J., from 2008 to 2010. Plaintiff alleges that the Aramark Defendants served meals in an unsanitary fashion and failed to provide him with an adequate diet, thereby violating his Due Process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment. Plaintiff also contends that the Aramark Defendants conspired to deprive him of his nutritional requirements, leaving him and other inmates no other option but to shop at the jail's commissary to fulfill their dietary needs. Plaintiff files suit under 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983.

Also included in Plaintiff's Proposed Amended Complaint are new claims against Camden County and County officials ("County Defendants") for civil conspiracy and failing to provide Plaintiff with safe and healthy prison conditions pursuant to the Fourteenth Amendment. Although the Court only granted Plaintiff permission to amend claims against the Aramark Defendants, the County has filed opposition responding to the substance of Plaintiff's argument. [Docket Item 45.] Because the Court must treat pleadings from pro se litigants liberally, Liggon-Redding v. Estate of Sugarman , 659 F.3d 258, 265 (3d Cir. 2011), the Court will construe this pleading as a motion to amend against Camden County and will address the merits of this claim.

For the reasons explained below, the Court will grant Plaintiff's motion to amend his constitutional claims against the Aramark Defendants and will deny the motion as to Plaintiff's civil conspiracy claims against the Aramark and County Defendants.


A. Facts

The background of this case has been discussed at length in previous opinions, which is incorporated herein. See White v. Taylor, No. 10-5485, 2013 WL 1412300, at *1-*2 (D.N.J. Apr. 5, 2013), ECF No. 40; Cook v. Taylor, No. 10-2643, 2012 WL 4959519, at *1-*2 (D.N.J. Oct. 16, 2012). Plaintiff was confined at CCCF from December 2008 through April 2010. (Am. Compl. [Docket Item 44-1] at 2.) His Proposed Amended Complaint states that he was a pretrial detainee. (Id. at 16.) Plaintiff alleges that the Aramark Defendants intentionally served inmates at CCCF meals that differed from those listed on the menu and which failed to meet the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's nutritional daily standards because the portions were so small. (Id. at 10-11.) Further, Plaintiff contends that meals were served on food trays in an unsanitary manner. (Id. at 14.)

Plaintiff provides examples of how meals served to the inmates differed from meals listed on the menus.[1] For example, the lunch that was served to inmates on November 25, 2009, consisted of two hotdogs and buns, one-quarter cup of plain cabbage without dressing, and three teaspoons of beans. (Id. at 11.) Plaintiff contends that according to the listed menu, inmates should have been served two hotdogs and buns, one-half cup of coleslaw, one-half cup of salad with low-fat dressing, three-quarters of a cup of ranch beans, and one-half cup of vanilla pudding. (Id.)

Additionally, Plaintiff contends that lunch on December 1, 2009, consisted of two slices of bread, two teaspoons of turkey in barbecue sauce ("mostly sauce [with] very little meat"), two teaspoons of mashed potatoes, one teaspoon of shredded cabbage with mayonnaise, and a Nutri-Grain cereal bar. (Id.) Plaintiff contends the menu was listed as three ounces of barbecue turkey meat, two slices of bread, one cup of potatoes, one-half cup of salad with low-fat dressing, and a slice of cake. (Id. at 12.)

Plaintiff adds that these substituted meals are not "isolated incidents" but instead are examples of what was served on a daily basis. (Id.) Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that whenever the menu listed either a cup or half cup of a food item, the Aramark Defendants would "significantly reduce the portion actually served to two or three teaspoons, and deny straving [sic] inmates." (Id.) For instance, Plaintiff alleges that when the menu called for a half-cup of oatmeal, he received only three ...

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