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White v. Taylor

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

May 27, 2014

ERIC TAYLOR, et al., Defendants.

Mr. Kashief White, Clemonton, 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, District Judge.

I. Introduction

This matter is before the Court on two motions for summary judgment brought by the Camden County Defendants[1] [Docket Item 66] and the Aramark Defendants (collectively, "Aramark")[2] [Docket Item 68]. The motions are unopposed.

This action, brought by Plaintiff Kashief White, pro se, concerns conditions of confinement in the Camden County Correctional Facility ("CCCF") in Camden, N.J., and the nutritional sufficiency of meals that the Aramark Defendants served to Plaintiff while he was a pretrial detainee there from 2008 to 2010. Plaintiff alleges that CCCF was overcrowded and understaffed, unsanitary and unsafe. He alleges that the County was deliberately indifferent to the rights of the detainees and the County instituted or acquiesced to policies or practices in violation of his Fourteenth Amendment rights and rights secured by the New Jersey Constitution and other state law. He also 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.

The two groups of Defendants separately move for summary judgment on several grounds. Of primary importance, Defendants argue that Plaintiff fails to allege or provide evidentiary support for injuries he sustained as a result of the complained-of conduct. For the reasons explained below, the Court will grant both motions.

II. Background

A. Facts[3]

The background of this case has been discussed at length in previous opinions, which are incorporated herein. See White v. Taylor, No. 10-5485, 2013 WL 4595885, at *1-*2 (D.N.J. Aug. 28, 2013), ECF No. 54; 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 at least from December 2008 through April 2010 as a pretrial detainee.[4] (Plaintiff's Answers to First Set of Interrogatories (County Ex. C) ¶ 8 [Docket Item 66-3]; Aramark Ex. A [Docket Item 68-6].) Upon admission to the CCCF, all inmates at the CCCF are issued an "Inmate Handbook" that includes a section on inmate grievances detailing the procedures to be followed. (Certification of Albert Hickson, Jr. ¶ 3 (County Ex. F) [Docket Item 66-6].) Plaintiff filed no grievances while he was incarcerated at the CCCF. (Hickson Certification ¶ 4.)

In his Amended Complaint, Plaintiff asserts that (1) overcrowding forced him to sleep on the floor next to the toilet (Am. Compl. [Docket Item 44-1] at 9-10); (2) he has been exposed to boils and contagious diseases due to inadequate cleaning supplies and failure to isolate contagious inmates (id. at 10, 16); (3) inmates wait days or weeks to receive medical treatment due to insufficient medical staff (id. at 10); (4) the facility co-mingles convicted inmates and pretrial detainees (id. at 16);

(5) his cell reached temperatures exceeding 90 degrees and his sink was running and clogged (id. at 15-16.). He asserts: "plaintiff has suffered serious emotional and physical injuries, and has suffered real and measurable monetary damages, " but he does not specify the injury or provide any additional factual detail about the harm suffered. (Id. at 17.)

Plaintiff also alleges that the meals he was served were different from the listed menu and the portions were nutritionally deficient. (Id. at 11-12.) He asserts, for instance, that breakfast consisted of two teaspoons of scrambled eggs, three teaspoons of oatmeal, and two slices of bread. (Id. at 11.) He alleges that dinner the same day consisted of three carrot sticks (the "size of a french fry"), three teaspoons of beans and rice, and two slices of bread. (Id.) He alleges that he "suffered starvation, significant weight loss; depression; fatigue; unrelenting and painful stomach cramps; excessive gas; strained bowel movements and constipation...." (Id. at 13.) Plaintiff also alleges that the contamination from unclean food trays has led him to suffer "several bouts of uncontrolable [sic] viomiting [sic] at least 2 to 3 times per month, throughout his period of confinement at the CCCF." Id. at 15.)

B. Procedural history

Plaintiff and many other detainess and inmates brought virtually identical suits complaining of the general conditions at CCCF, as well as the unsanitary meal presentation and inadequate nutrition. See Cook, 2012 WL 4959519, at *1. The cases were consolidated for a time, but eventually de-consolidated because the Court was unable to locate pro bono counsel willing to accept appointments to represent the plaintiffs. [Docket Item 12.] After de-consolidation, the Aramark Defendants filed a motion to dismiss on March 6, 2012 [Docket Item 14], which Plaintiff did not oppose. The Court dismissed claims against the Aramark Defendants in all cases except Plaintiff's, because before the Court decided the motion, the Court terminated Plaintiff's case without prejudice for failure to comply with L. Civ. R. 10.1(a).[5] [Docket Item 24.] See Simmons v. Taylor, No. 10-1192 , 2012 WL 3863792, at *4 (D.N.J. Sept. 5, 2012) (dismissing claims); Cook, 2012 WL 4959519, at *2 (same); Kunst v. Taylor, No. 10-1608, 2012 WL 5451275, at *3 (D.N.J. Nov. 5, 2012) (same).

Plaintiff reemerged six weeks later to file a notice of change of address. [Docket Item 26.] Six months after that, Plaintiff moved to reopen his case. [Docket Item 28.] Over Aramark's objection, the Court reopened Plaintiff's case and reinstated Aramark's motion to dismiss. [Docket Items 14 & 30.] Plaintiff simultaneously filed opposition and an incomplete motion to amend the Complaint. [Docket Item 35.] After permitting Plaintiff to refile, the Court granted the motion to amend as to Plaintiff's Fourteenth Amendment Due Process Clause claim against the Aramark Defendants, because Plaintiff alleged that the small meal portions did not provide him adequate nutrition and resulted in physical ...

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