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Fountain v. Rupert

United States District Court, E.D. Texas, Tyler Division

March 1, 2018



          Ron Clark, United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Freddie Fountain, an inmate of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice proceeding pro se, filed this civil rights lawsuit under 28 U.S.C. § 1983, complaining of alleged deprivations of his constitutional rights. This Court ordered the matter be referred to the United States Magistrate Judge.

         I. Fountain's Motion for Injunctive Relief

         Fountain has filed two motions for a preliminary injunction, (Dkt. #134, #145), requesting that this Court order prison officials to eliminate numerous conditions at the prison. Specifically, in his first motion, Fountain complained about meals by noting that his breakfast was nutritionally inadequate because it was without milk, fruit, syrup, butter, and consisted of two pancakes as opposed to three and not enough oatmeal. He asked that the Court direct prison officials to provide better quality food with the proper amount of nutrition.

         In his second motion, Fountain asked that the Court order all defendants to (1) eliminate the cockroaches, spiders, and insect infestation inside his cell; (2) provide him with sunlight, meat and drinks with meals, adequate daily nutrition, clean clothing, adequate bedding, clean eating utensils, heat inside the winter, and air inside during the summer; (3) give him access to medical care and treatment for his numerous afflictions; and (4) provide television and reading materials, eight hours of uninterrupted sleep, an adequate sized cell and writing desk, hot water that does not burn, physical therapy, and rehabilitation.

         II. The Magistrate Judge's Report

         After a review of the pleadings, the Magistrate Judge issued a Report recommending that the motions for preliminary injunction be denied. Specifically, the Magistrate Judge highlighted that Fountain could not satisfy any of the elements required for a preliminary injunction. The Magistrate Judge further explained that Fountain's motions were a laundry list of complaints about prison conditions without support.

         III. Fountain's Objections

         In his objections, Fountain first asserts that he “objects to each and every finding and conclusion of fact and law therein the Report.” He then notes that he will “restate or state herein his argument.”

         In the first portion of his objections, Fountain presents an access to courts issue. Specifically, he contends that TDCJ officers are “cutting open, scrutinizing and screening all of Fountain's outgoing sealed legal mail to all legal recipients.” He further asserts that prison officials are not giving him enough paper, which has “forced him to have to use the blank side of his own old letters and pleadings” for many years while he builds his case. Fountain maintains that TDCJ has created a “special rule for Fountain several years ago, ” which identifies all “used paper” pleadings and exhibits as contraband-resulting in their confiscation.

         Moreover, in the latter half of his objections, Fountain highlights only his complaints regarding food and meals. Specifically, he states that he “has not been provided with nutritionally complete and wholesome food of sufficient quality or quantity in his seven years of confinement at the Coffield Unit, in either of his two diets.” Fountain explains that medical staff have placed him in a high-caloric diet because of his weight loss, which he attributes to his thyroid issues. He also states that Texas law requires that prisoners be “fed good, ” and that prison officials are refusing to follow that law by refusing to provide enough calories-even though the “cook worksheets” denote enough protein and calories within each meal. He also alleges that segregated inmates are not provided condiments, such as butter, ketchup, mayonnaise, relish, or BBQ sauce. Fountain repeatedly complains that, despite being placed on a high-caloric diet, the peanut butter in his sandwich are “cut” with water such that it erodes all of the protein. Similarly, the cheese sandwiches only have one piece of cheese when the sandwich is supposed to have two slices.

         Finally, Fountain argues that the prison food is “repetitive, ” which is in direct conflict with Texas law that provides that prisoners are to be fed a “reasonable variety.” He explains that “it is cruel and inhumane to force any human being to have to eat the same thing over and over every day to the point that he becomes sick to it.” He highlights that during breakfast, inmates are fed the “same apple sauce, grits and oatmeal, ” while during lunch and dinner, inmates “are repeatedly given the same [vegetables] over and over-e.g., collard greens, green beans, squash, [and] yams.”

         IV. Discussion and Analysis

         A. Issues not Raised ...

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