United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Fort Myers Division
DAVID BAKER, JR., ELGRON TAYLOR, JOHN WALTERS, BRANDON FRANCISQUE, C. RODRIGEZ, MICHAEL WILKINS, EARL JAY SLATON, ERIK THOMAS BARTLESON and RICHARD HOLLOWAY, Plaintiffs,
CARMINE MARCENO, TRINITY FOOD SERVICE GROUP INC and LEE COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT, Defendants.
SHERIPOLSTER CHAPPEL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is Defendant Lee County Sheriff's
Department's Motion to Dismiss Amended Complaint (Doc.
24), which Defendant Trinity Food Service Group adopts (Doc.
29) and Plaintiffs oppose (Doc. 32). Plaintiffs are nine pro
se detainees who bring this “Federal Class
Action” suit because the food served at the Lee County
jail allegedly amounts to cruel and unusual punishment under
the Eighth Amendment. (Doc. 20). The Amended Complaint is the
Sheriff moves to dismiss the Amended Complaint under Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) because the pleading makes
incoherent allegations, does not separate claims into
discrete counts, and asserts general accusations not targeted
at the specific Defendants. (Doc. 24). The Sheriff identifies
another issue: this is a putative class action suit with
Plaintiff David Baker Jr., a pro se prisoner, to
serve as the proposed representative. For the below reasons,
the Court agrees with the Sheriff.
pro se litigant can serve as a class representative.
See Bass v. Benton, 408 Fed.Appx. 298,
298-99 (11th Cir. 2011) (“We have interpreted 28 U.S.C.
§ 1654, the general provision permitting parties to
proceed pro se, as providing ‘a personal right
that does not extend to the representation of the interests
of others.” (other citation omitted)); Young v.
Scott, 2:16-cv-581-FtM-99CM, 2016 WL 4441581, at *3
(M.D. Fla. Aug. 23, 2016) (dismissing an amended complaint
because a pro se prisoner could not prosecute a
class action); Smith v. Polk County, Fla., No.
8:05-cv-884-T24-MAP, 2005 WL 1309910, at *1 (M.D. Fla. May
31, 2005) (“It would be plain error to allow a pro
se litigant to represent fellow inmates in a class
action.”). Not allowing Baker to represent to the class
also follows the Prisoner Litigation Reform Act, which stops
inmates from joining in a single civil rights suit to share
the mandatory filing fee. See Hubbard v.
Haley, 262 F.3d 1194, 1195 (11th Cir. 2001) (stating
“the intent of Congress in promulgating the [Prisoner
Litigation Reform Act] was to deter frivolous civil actions
brought by prisoners by requiring each individual prisoner to
pay the full amount of the required fee”).
Amended Complaint also does not allege enough factual matter
to state a plausible Eighth Amendment violation. See
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) ("A
claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads
factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged.” (citation omitted). The Eighth Amendment
requires prison officials to provide humane treatment.
Hudson v. McMillan, 503 U.S. 1, 5 (1992); Thomas
v. Bryant, 614 F.3d 1288, 1306 (11th Cir. 2010) (stating
“[t]he Constitution does not mandate comfortable
prisons” only humane treatment). To state a claim for
an unconstitutional condition of confinement, as alleged
here, “extreme deprivations” are required.
Hudson, 503 at 8-9. Plaintiffs' Eighth Amendment
claim centers on them allegedly being deprived “2800
daily calories.” (Doc. 20 at 3). But nowhere do they
cite any regulations establishing this caloric minimum to
plead an extreme deprivation. Nor do they allege facts
showing that the jail's food poses an unreasonable risk
of serious damage to their health. See Hamm v. DeKalb
County, 774 F.2d 1567, 1575 (11th Cir. 1985) (“The
Constitution requires that prisoners be provided
‘reasonably adequate food.'” (citations
omitted)); Smith v. Sullivan, 553 F.2d 373, 380 (5th
Cir. 1977) (“A well-balanced meal, containing
sufficient nutritional value to preserve health, is all that
is required.”). At most, the Amended Complaint contains
conclusory allegations of malnourishment and unpleasant
meals. This is not enough. See Hamm, 774
F.2d at 1575 (“The fact that the food occasionally
contains foreign objects or sometimes is served cold, while
unpleasant, does not amount to a constitutional
deprivation.”); Oliver v. Whitehead, No.
3:14-cv-1506-J-39JRK, 2017 WL 26860, at *14 (M.D. Fla. Jan.
3, 2017) (rejecting an Eighth Amendment claim about prison
food when the plaintiff did not provide facts
“supporting a claim of unhealthy weight loss” or
“medical problems” associated with the food).
the Amended Complaint's defects cannot be cured by
amendment at this stage, each individual Plaintiff may state
his own claim by filing a new complaint in a new case and
either pay the filing fee or move to proceed in forma
it is now
Defendant Lee County Sheriffs Department's Motion to
Dismiss Amended Complaint (Doc. 24) is GRANTED. The Amended
Complaint is dismissed without prejudice.
Clerk of Court is DIRECTED to enter judgment, terminate any
pending motions, and close the file.
and ORDERED in Fort Myers, Florida on this 2nd day of January
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