United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Western Division
W. FLANAGAN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the court on defendant's motion for
summary judgment (DE 79) pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 56. The motion was fully briefed and the issues
raised are ripe for decision. For the reasons that follow,
the court grants the motion.
OF THE CASE
commenced this action by filing complaint on March 27, 2017,
alleging defendant Clarence Godley (“Godley”)
violated his rights under the Eighth Amendment to the United
States Constitution. Between April 2017 and November 2017,
plaintiff filed seven motions to amend the complaint. On
November 7, 2017, the court entered order directing plaintiff
to file one amended complaint particularizing his claims.
Plaintiff timely complied with the court's order by
filing the operative amended complaint on November 21, 2017.
On November 28, 2017, the court conducted its frivolity
review of the operative amended complaint and allowed the
matter to proceed.
18, 2018, the court entered case management order governing
discovery and pretrial dispositive motions practice, and also
appointed North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services, Inc.
(“NCPLS”) to represent plaintiff for the
discovery phase of the case. The parties completed discovery
on or about December 26, 2018. On January 2, 2019, NCPLS
moved to withdraw from representing plaintiff, noting its
opinion that further appointment of counsel is not necessary
in this action. The court granted NCPLS's motion to
February 27, 2019, defendant filed the instant motion for
summary judgment. In support, defendant relies upon
memorandum of law, statement of material facts, and the
following: 1) excerpts from plaintiff's medical records;
2) declaration from defendant; 3) excerpts from Maury
Correctional Institution's (“Maury C.I.”)
food services policy; 4) MNT-4 sample menu; 5) Maury
C.I.'s tray line accuracy reports from April 2016 through
May 2018; and 6) declarations from third-party witnesses
Demetrius Hines (“Hines”), Vondella Pratt
(“Pratt”), and Raija Ellis (“Ellis”).
Plaintiff filed response opposing defendant's motion on
March 6, 2019, which relies upon memorandum of law, statement
of material facts, and excerpts from plaintiff's medical
records. Plaintiff's filed amended response on March 8,
2019, which relies upon additional excerpts from his medical
OF THE FACTS
defendant moves for summary judgment, the court recounts the
facts in the light most favorable to plaintiff.
is the food services manager at the Maury C.I. (Godley Decl.
(DE 81-3) ¶ 2). Plaintiff is an inmate in the custody of
the North Carolina Department of Public Safety
(“DPS”), who was housed at the Maury C.I. from
April 2016 to May 2018. (Id. ¶ 3).
is responsible for managing all aspects of the Maury
C.I.'s food services operation, including supervising
food services staff, procuring food and other supplies,
managing inventory, and assuring compliance with sanitation
and food safety standards. (Id. ¶ 5). Inmate
meal trays are prepared by other inmates employed in the
Maury C.I. kitchen under supervision of food services
officers and supervisors. (Id. ¶ 10; Hines
Decl. (DE 81-7) ¶ 3; Pratt Decl. (DE 81-8) ¶ 3;
Ellis Decl. (DE 81-9) ¶ 3). Defendant is the head
supervisor over all DPS employees and inmates employed in the
kitchen and he does not ordinarily prepare inmate meal trays.
(Godley Decl. (DE 81-3) ¶ 10).
has been prescribed the “MNT-4” therapeutic diet.
(Id. ¶ 13). The MNT-4 diet provides for daily
intake of 3, 000 calories, and is low in fat and sodium, high
in fiber, and provides carbohydrate content and calorie
restrictions. (Id. ¶ 8; Maury C.I. Food
Services Policy (DE 81-4) at 4). Registered dieticians write
the MNT-4 menu, but defendant is responsible for ensuring
that all inmates prescribed that diet receive meal trays
containing items from the MNT-4 menu and appropriate portion
sizes. (Godley Decl. (DE 81-3) ¶¶ 6-7; Maury C.I.
Food Services Policy (DE 81-4) at 1).
plaintiff arrived at the Maury C.I., he notified defendant
that he did not believe his meal trays complied with the
MNT-4 diet and menu requirements. (Godley Decl. (DE 81-3)
¶ 13). Plaintiff's medical records indicate that his
weight dropped to 163 pounds after one year of incarceration
at the Maury C.I., which is approximately 10% below his ideal
body weigh. (See, e.g., Medical Records (DE 81-2) at
1). Plaintiff's medical records, however, also reflect
that his weight fluctuated during the relevant time period.
(See id. at 1-9). At times, plaintiff weighed 178
pounds, which is within 98% of his ideal body weight.
submitted uncontradicted evidence that plaintiff's MNT-4
meal trays were “regularly” double or triple
checked by either defendant himself or a DPS food services
supervisor/officer to ensure the trays were compliant with
the MNT-4 diet. (Godley Decl. (DE 81-3) ¶ 14; Hines
Decl. (DE 81-7) ¶ 8; Pratt Decl. (DE 81-8) ¶ 8;
Ellis Decl. (DE 81-9) ¶ 8). The undisputed record
evidence also reflects that defendant instructed DPS food
services employees to confirm plaintiff's MNT-4 trays
were accurate. (Hines Decl. (DE 81-7) ¶ 8; Pratt Decl.
(DE 81-8) ¶ 8; Ellis Decl. (DE 81-9) ¶ 8). Finally,
defendant submitted monthly tray line accuracy reports for
the period April 2016 ...