United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
OPINION AND ORDER
MICHAEL H. WATSON, JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
14, 2017, Magistrate Judge Kemp, to whom this case was
originally referred, issued a Report and Recommendation
("R&R") recommending that the Court grant Dr.
Michael Davis's ("Defendant") motion for
summary judgment, ECF No. 16, and deny Levert Ervin's
("Plaintiff") motion for partial summary judgment,
ECF No. 9, in this prisoner civil rights case. R&R, ECF
No. 19. For the following reasons, the Court
ADOPTS the R&R.
R&R sets forth the pertinent facts in this case, which
are as follows. Plaintiff is a prisoner at Grafton
Correctional Institution ("Grafton"). Defendant is
the Religious Services Administrator for the Ohio Department
of Rehabilitation and Correction.
August of 2015, Plaintiff submitted a "request to change
religious affiliation" form to the Grafton Chaplain,
Ronald Smith ("Chaplain Smith"). Plaintiff sought
to change his religious affiliation from Pentecostal
Christian to Natsarim (Messianic Judaism). The request was
approved the same day. The warden subsequently approved
several religious accommodations for Plaintiff, including
permitting Plaintiff to wear a yarmulke, a tallit (prayer
shawl), and tzitzits (undergarments with tassles), and to be
excused from work duty on the Sabbath.
December 21, 2015, during the same time frame that the warden
was approving certain religious accommodations for Plaintiff,
Plaintiff requested to be placed on a kosher diet. Defendant
denied that December request, stating that he was
"[u]nable to make a determination based on information
provided." Defendant denied Plaintiffs request based on
Chaplain Smith's recommendation. Davis Decl. ¶ 9,
ECF No. 16-1. Chaplain Smith, in turn, recommended that
Defendant deny Plaintiff's December 2015 request because
Defendant had denied a prior, September 2015, request of
Plaintiffs for a kosher diet. Id. ¶ 9-10; Resp.
Ex. A, ECF No. 16-4. Defendant had also denied
Plaintiff's September 2015 request based on the
recommendation of Chaplain Smith, which recommendation stated
that, when he interviewed Plaintiff about the request,
Plaintiff appeared to change his mind and asked that the
request be torn up. Davis Decl. ¶ 11, ECF No. 16-1;
Resp. Ex. C, ECF No. 16-6; Resp. Ex. D, ECF No. 16-7.
again requested a kosher diet on March 18, 2016. Defendant
approved that request based on Chaplain Smith's
recommendation. Resp. Ex. F, ECF No. 16-9.
alleges that, in denying Plaintiff's December 2015
request for a kosher diet, Defendant violated Plaintiff's
First and Fourteenth Amendment rights as well as the
Religious Land Use Institutionalized Persons Act
("RLUIPA"). Plaintiff sues Defendant in his
individual and official capacities. Plaintiff seeks a
declaratory judgment, the award of compensatory and punitive
damages, and an injunction requiring Defendant to place
Plaintiff on a kosher diet.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Judge Kemp issued the R&R pursuant to Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 72(b) and 28 U.S.C. § 636(b). Under Rule
72(b), the Undersigned must determine de novo any
part of the Magistrate Judge's disposition that has been
properly objected to. Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3). The Undersigned
may accept, reject, or modify the R&R, receive further
evidence, or return the matter to the Magistrate Judge with
R&R recommended the Court grant summary judgment for
Defendant on all of Plaintiff's claims.