United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Western Division
KRISTINE G. BAKER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Judge Beth Deere has filed a Recommended Disposition
(“Recommendation”) (Dkt. No. 33). After careful
review of the Recommendation and plaintiff David William
Engstrom's timely objections (Dkt. No. 34), as well as a
de novo review of the record, the Court concludes
that the Recommendation should be, and hereby is, approved
and adopted as this Court's findings in all respects
(Dkt. No. 33).
Court writes separately to address Mr. Engstrom's
objections. Mr. Engstrom is an Arkansas Department of
Correction (“ADC”) inmate formerly detained at
the Pulaski County Regional Detention Facility
(“PCRDF”). Mr. Engstrom, proceeding pro
se, filed a complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983,
alleging that, while he was detained at PCRDF, he was forced
to participate in the practices and observances of Islamic
religious belief (Dkt. No. 2, at 3). Mr. Engstrom further
alleged that he was not allowed to eat for four consecutive
days because Mr. Engstrom's anothername was placed on the
fasting list for Ramadan. Mr. Engstrom contended that
defendants Morgan and Townsend acted with deliberate
indifference in denying him food for four days.
Court previously dismissed Mr. Engstrom's claims against
defendant Doc Holladay (Dkt. No. 14). Likewise, the Court
dismissed Mr. Engstrom's claims against defendants Morgan
and Townsend in their official capacities (Dkt. No. 14).
Morgan and Townsend moved for summary judgment on Mr.
Engstrom's claims against them in their individual
capacities (Dkt. No. 25). Defendants Morgan and Townsend
contend that they are entitled to qualified immunity for
their actions. The Recommendation agrees, concluding that
defendants Morgan and Townsend were not deliberately
indifferent to Mr. Engstrom's health or safety and that,
as a matter of law, Mr. Engstrom's Eighth Amendment
objections, Mr. Engstrom contends that defendants Morgan and
Townsend were deliberately indifferent because they refused
to allow him to be fed three daily meals, citing Mr.
Engstrom's inclusion on the Ramadan fasting list. Mr.
Engstrom contends defendants Morgan and Townsend did not
properly investigate his grievance after determining that the
allegations contained therein were
“non-grievable.” He contends that there is
nothing in ADC policy that makes a claim of deliberate
indifference “non-grievable.” Mr. Engstrom
contends that he reported the lack of nutritional food to the
medical staff and that he experienced a fall or several falls
on the stairs because of the lack of food to sustain him. Mr.
Engstrom also complains that he has lost approximately 50
pounds, which started as a result of the denial of meals for
the four days he was on the Ramadan fasting list. Mr.
Engstrom contends that an evidentiary hearing is warranted.
prevail on this issue, Mr. Engstrom must show that prison
officials were deliberately indifferent to his dietary needs.
Wishon v. Gammon, 978 F.2d 446, 449 (8th Cir. 1992).
Prisoners have a right to nutritionally adequate food.
Id. Depriving a person of all food for four days
would impose a constitutionally significant hardship.
Atkins v. City of Chicago, 631 F.3d 823, 830 (7th
Cir. 2011) (citing Reed v. McBride, 178 F.3d 849,
853-54 (7th Cir. 1999); Foster v. Runnels, 554 F.3d
807, 814-15 and n. 5 (9th Cir. 2009); Simmons v.
Cook, 154 F.3d 805, 808 (8th Cir. 1998)). Here, however,
Mr. Engstrom does not allege that he was entirely deprived of
food during the four days he was on the Ramadan fasting list.
Instead, he contends that he was not fed three daily meals.
Defendants Morgan and Townsend contend that all prisoners on
the Ramadan fasting list receive breakfast and a sack
containing a dinner meal at the end of the day, totaling 2550
to 2600 calories per day. Mr. Engstrom presents no evidence
to the contrary.
Recommended Disposition appears to conclude that in his
complaint, Mr. Engstrom alleges that being forced to
participate in the practices and observances of Islamic
religious belief violated his rights under the First
Amendment to the United States Constitution (Dkt. No. 33, at
1-2). After a careful review of Mr. Engstrom's complaint,
however, this Court concludes that he has not alleged a
violation of his First Amendments rights (Dkt. No. 2, at 3).
Instead, throughout his pleadings, Mr. Engstrom has
complained that the denial of food as a result of his
placement on the Ramadan fasting list constituted cruel and
unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment. In
his response to the defendants' motion for summary
judgment, Mr. Engstrom contends that he did not fill out the
Ramadan fasting form at issue but was signed up either by the
defendants or by another inmate (Dkt. No. 29, at 10).
However, Mr. Engstrom states that the purpose of signing him
up for the Ramadan fasting list was to inflict intentionally
pain and suffering upon him. While it is unclear to the Court
who filled out the paperwork that resulted in Mr. Engstrom
being placed on the Ramadan fasting list, the Court does not
construe Mr. Engstrom's complaint to contain a claim that
his First Amendment rights were violated.
Morgan and Townsend's motion for summary judgment is
granted (Dkt. No. 25). Mr. Engstrom's ...