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Jackson v. Climmer

United States District Court, D. Oregon

November 22, 2017

LOWELL EDWARD JACKSON, Plaintiff,
v.
EDDIE CLIMMER, BILL BRADY, and ARAMARK FOOD SERVICE, Defendants.

          FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION

          STACIE F. BECKERMAN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Lowell Edward Jackson (“Plaintiff”) is an inmate in the custody of the Oregon Department of Corrections (“ODOC”). He filed this civil rights action against Eddie Climer, [1]Bill Brady, and Aramark Food Service (collectively, “Defendants”), alleging negligence and violations of Plaintiff's rights under the First, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. (Am. Compl.) Defendants move for summary judgment, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. (ECF No. 10.)

         The Court has jurisdiction over this matter pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1367. For the reasons that follow, the Court recommends that the district judge grant Defendants' motion for summary judgment.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff is allergic to pork. (Am. Compl. at 2.) He documented that allergy with the staff at Multnomah County's Inverness Jail. (Id.) He requested, and was denied, a halal diet. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges that Inverness Jail served meals containing pork on May 19 and May 20, 2017. (Id.) He did not consume the alleged pork products, but, instead, “rec[e]ived v[e]ggie tray both times.” (Id.)

         Plaintiff filed two Service Request Forms relating to his diet. (Id. at 7-8.) Both predate the alleged incidents. In a March 16, 2017, service request, Plaintiff asked for a pork-free diet “according to [his] religion” and stated that the beans served that day contained pieces of pork. (Id. at 8.) Inverness staff responded the following day, explaining that the jail is a pork-free facility and that any meat present in the meal was poultry. (Id.)

         In a second service request, dated May 15, 2017, Plaintiff stated that he was writing “concerning the ‘Allerg[e]n to Pork' slips” from food service. (Id. at 7.) A staff member replied, “Yes, I saw the 2 slips where you were given a veg[gie] meal instead of the reg meal. You can go on a veg[gie] diet if you like.” (Id.) Plaintiff does not allege that he filed any food-related complaints through the institution's administrative grievance process.

         Plaintiff claims that Defendants committed negligence by serving food containing pork despite knowledge of Plaintiff's allergy. (Id. at 2.) He also claims that Defendants violated his Fourteenth Amendment right to equal protection because they serve kosher meals to Jewish inmates, but do not serve halal meals to Muslim inmates. (Id. at 3.) Plaintiff cites to the First and Eighth Amendments in his list of causes of action, but provides no specific allegations in support of those citations. (Am. Compl.)

         Defendants now move for summary judgment. (ECF No. 10.) In support of that motion, Defendants submitted a declaration from Lewis Kyle, chaplain at Inverness Jail. Chaplain Kyle states that Inverness Jail has been a pork-free facility for over 17 years. (Kyle Decl. at ¶ 6.) Also, the jail discontinued both kosher and halal meals in 2013, in consultation with the facility's rabbi and imam. (Id. at ¶ 5.) Instead, Inverness Jail serves vegetarian and vegan meal options to meet both religions' dietary requirements. (Id. at ¶¶ 4-5.)

         In a separate declaration, Defendant Eddie Climer, the Food Service Director at Inverness Jail, reaffirms that the jail has been pork-free for 17 years. (Climer Decl. at ¶ 7.) He provides copies of the jail's food service menus for March 16, 2017, and May 19, 2017. (Id., Exs. 2, 3.) Defendant Climer explains that the “T Ham Navy Beans” and “Breakfast Sausage” served at Inverness Jail contain poultry meat, not pork. (Climer Decl. at ¶¶ 3-6; see also Id. at Ex. 4 (ingredient list for breakfast patties).)

         In response to these factual assertions, Plaintiff responds that dextrose, an ingredient in the breakfast patties served at Inverness Jail, is made from pork skin or pork fat. (Resp. to Mot. for Summ. J.) He provides no supporting evidence, only a reference to an “‘in camera exhibit' piece of [pork] at the Multnomah County Court Clerk Office.” (Id.)

         Defendants also filed the declaration of Commander Raimond Adgers, Commander of Multnomah County's Corrections Division. Commander Adgers reviewed the institution's inmate grievance database and attests that Plaintiff did not file a grievance relating to his current claims. (Adgers Decl. at ¶ 4.) Plaintiff does not dispute this fact.

         ANALYSIS

         I. ...


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