A man serving a life sentence for murdering his brother with a butcher knife lost a lawsuit against a prison food provisioner for running out of waffles, a popular breakfast item, and serving day-old peach cobbler instead of the announced dessert of bread pudding.
MLive notes that Iatonda Taylor, 44, who killed his brother, Moise Taylor, 36, in Grand Rapids in May 2006, filed a federal lawsuit against Aramark, the former food-service provider for the Michigan Department of Corrections.
“He alleged that unsatisfying food substitutions put Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility at risk of a riot, leaving him at risk of injury beyond nutritional deficiency.
“Taylor said the near-riot happened May 2, when Aramark ran out of waffles before everyone had been served. Instead, they got a couple of slices of bread and peanut butter and jelly. Prisoners became agitated and threatened they would not move if more waffles weren’t brought to the prison from a nearby store.”
Another food substitution that compounded what Taylor claims was an already-tense situation was the reconstituted scrambled eggs offered when grilled-cheese sandwiches ran out.
But a U.S. District Judge in Kalamazoo dismissed the case, stating that the prisoner failed to demonstrate that his constitutional rights had been violated.
Judge Paul Maloney wrote in an 11-page opinion:
To the extent that Plaintiff claims Defendants’ food-substitution decisions placed Plaintiff at risk of a riot, he essentially alleges that Defendants failed to protect him from other inmates.
Plaintiff fails to demonstrate that his fear of injury is reasonable.
Plaintiff alleges only one occasion on which the food substitutions caused prisoners to become obstreperous. On that occasion, prison guards were available and were fully able to calm the situation by handcuffing a few agitators before anything more than angry comments were made.
While the situation may have been tense, Plaintiff fails to allege facts supporting his claim that he reasonably remains at substantial risk of serious injury from last-minute food substitutions.
He also dismissed a claim by Taylor that inmates were deprived of essential, nutritious food, ruling moreover that no good-faith basis for appeal exists. If Taylor wants to appeal, he will have to pony up a $505 filing fee.
This is not the first time the state of Michigan has been faced with a frivolous lawsuit by a prison inmate. In 2011, convicted bank robber Kyle Richards sued, claiming his Eighth Amendment rights had been violated. The “cruel and unusual punishment” he faced was being denied pornography.