Inmate alleging poor diet loses appeal of fifth suit against TDCJ

By David Yates | Dec 29, 2008

Following four defeats, an inmate's hopes of keeping his fifth lawsuit alive against the Texas Department of Criminal Justice were crushed on Dec. 18, when justices on Texas' Ninth Court of Appeals upheld a lower court's ruling dismissing his suit.

Luis Lagaite Jr., a Texas inmate, sued the TDCJ and several of its medical employees last October, claiming his civil rights were violated when the defendants allegedly failed to provide him with adequate medical care while incarcerated.

The suit was filed Oct. 17, 2007, in Jefferson County District Court, and was assigned to 60th District Judge Gary Sanderson, who dismissed the suit six months after its filing.

"The trial court determined that Lagaite failed to comply with Chapter 14 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, which applies to inmates proceeding in forma pauperis," an opinion authored by Justice David Gaultney states.

"The trial court dismissed all of Lagaite's claims. Because we find the trial court did not abuse its discretion in dismissing Lagaite's claims, we affirm the order."

The suit was the fifth one filed by Lagaite.

According to his pro se suit, Lagaite suffered from chronic weight loss and the defendants negligently refused to put him on a high calorie diet.

Court documents show that some of the defendants filed a motion to dismiss on Nov. 28, 2007, which asserted that Lagaite's suit should be dismissed because of his failure to comply with sections of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code.

Some of the defendants in Lagaite's suit never even bothered to file an answer.

Judge Sanderson agreed and dismissed the suit on April 14, ruling that the plaintiff's claims were frivolous, court papers say.

Lagaite filed his appeal the following month, claiming the trial court erred in its decision to dismiss the suit.

The apellee was represented in part by attorney Jennifer Wells.

Trial case No. B180-530
Appeals case No. 09-08-00216-CV

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