United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
Deon S. Glenn, Plaintiff,
Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OF OPINION AND ORDER
PATRICIA A. GAUGHAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court upon Defendants' Motion for
Summary Judgment (Doc. 12) and Plaintiff's Motion for
Summary Judgment (Doc. 13). This case arises under the
Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act
(“RLUIPA”). For the reasons that follow,
defendants' motion is DENIED and plaintiff's motion
is GRANTED. The Court hereby grants plaintiff's request
for a declaration that the grooming policies as applied to
him violate RLUIPA. Defendants are hereby enjoined from
enforcing such policies against plaintiff only. The Court
takes no position on whether the dreadlock ban is enforceable
with respect to other inmates.
Deon S. Glenn, brings this action against defendants, Ohio
Department of Rehabilitation and Correction
(“ODRC”) Director Gary C. Mohr and Trumbull
Correctional Institution Warden Charmaine Bracy. Plaintiff
alleges that the inmate grooming policy maintained by
defendants, which prohibits dreadlocks, violates RLUIPA.
facts of this case are largely undisputed. Plaintiff is
incarcerated at Trumbull Correctional Institute
(“TCI”) where he is serving a lengthy sentence
for murder and attempted murder. (ECF 12-1 at ¶ 5).
Plaintiff is a “level 3” security risk, which
corresponds to an inmate requiring “close
security.” (Id.) Since his incarceration at
TCI, plaintiff has received 28 “cases, ” which
resulted in guilty findings with respect to 39 rule
violations. (ECF 12-1 at ¶ 6). Plaintiff received seven
violations for possession of contraband and one
“weapons” violation. Id.
is a practicing Rastafarian and has been since 2012. (ECF
13-6 at ¶ 2). One of the tenets of his faith includes
the Nazarite vow, which prohibits the cutting of hair.
According to his affidavit, Rastafarianism requires that
“hair should grow and ‘lock' naturally
without being cut.” (Id. at ¶ 4).
Plaintiff's hair naturally grows in tight curls. As it
gets longer, “the curls naturally coil together to form
dreadlocks.” (Id. at ¶ 5). Braids are not
an acceptable alternative. (Id. at ¶ 22).
Currently, plaintiff's dreadlocks are “thinner than
a wooden pencil and only extend about three inches from [his]
scalp.” Id. at ¶ 23. He uses
soap and water to keep his hair clean. (Id.).
Administrative Code § 5120-9-25(D) governs the
appearance of male prisoners. It provides as follows:
D) Haircuts shall be provided as needed. Hair shall be kept
clean. Braids may be worn subject to the limitations of this
rule. The following hairstyles or facial hair are not
permitted: Initials, symbols, dyes, multiple parts, hair
disproportionately longer in one area than another (excluding
natural baldness), weaves, and dreadlocks. Other hairstyles
not specifically listed herein may be prohibited if they are
determined to be either a threat to security or contrary to
other legitimate penological concerns, as determined by the
office of prisons. If approved by the warden, an inmate may
wear a wig for medical reasons or in conjunction with medical
addition to this policy, defendant does not dispute that a
November 30, 2014 memorandum (“Memorandum”)
drafted by TCI regarding hair care provides that there are
“no religious exemptions” for dreadlocks. The
Memorandum further defines a dreadlock as “a narrow
ropelike strand of hair formed by matting that cannot be
taken down easily or combed/brushed through.” According
to plaintiff, he wore his hair in dreadlocks without incident
until September of 2016, at which point TCI informed him that
he would be required to cut his dreadlocks. Plaintiff refused
on the basis that cutting his hair violated his religion.
Defendant then disciplined plaintiff, including placing him
in “the Hole, ” where he was unable to sleep for
several days in a row. Ultimately, plaintiff conceded to have
his dreadlocks cut in order to avoid further discipline.
plaintiff filed this one count complaint alleging that the
grooming policy violates RLUIPA. The parties cross-move for
summary judgment and each opposes the other's motion.
Judgment is appropriate when no genuine issues of material
fact exist and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S.
317, 322-23 (1986) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 56©); see
also LaPointe v. UAW, Local 600, 8 F.3d 376, 378 (6th
Cir. 1993). The burden of showing the absence of any such
genuine issues of material facts rests with the moving party:
[A] party seeking summary judgment always bears the initial
responsibility of informing the district court of the basis
for its motion, and identifying those portions of “the
pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and
admissions on file, together with affidavits, ” if any,
which it believes demonstrates the absence of a genuine issue
of material fact.
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323 (citing Fed.R.Civ.P.
56©). A fact is “material only if its resolution
will affect the outcome of the lawsuit.” Anderson
v. Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).
the nonmoving party must present “significant probative
evidence” to demonstrate that “there is [more
than] some metaphysical doubt as to the material
facts.” Moore v. Philip Morris Cos.,
Inc., 8 F.3d 335, 340 (6th Cir.1993). The nonmoving
party may not simply rely on its pleading, but must
“produce evidence that results in a conflict of
material fact to be solved by a jury.” Cox v.
Kentucky Dep't. of Transp., 53 F.3d 146, 150 (6th
evidence, all facts, and any inferences that may permissibly
be drawn from the facts must be viewed in the light most
favorable to the nonmoving party. Matsushita Elec. Indus.
Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986);
Eastman Kodak Co. v. Image Technical Servs., Inc.,
504 U.S. 451, 456 (1992). However, “[t]he mere
existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the
plaintiff's position will be insufficient; there must be
evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for the
plaintiff.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252.
judgment should be granted if a party who bears the burden of
proof at trial does not establish an essential element of his
case. Tolton v. American Biodyne, Inc., 48 F.3d 937,
941 (6th Cir. 1995) (citing Celotex, 477 U.S. at
322). Moreover, if the evidence is “merely
colorable” and not “significantly probative,
” the court may ...