United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
A. Sargus, Jr. Chief Judge.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
KIMBERLY A. JOLSON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on Defendants' Motion for
Summary Judgment (Doc. 29). For the reasons that follow, it
is RECOMMENDED that the Motion be
is a state prisoner currently incarcerated at the London
Correctional Institution. He is an adherent of the
Moorish/Kemetic religion and alleges multiple instances of
alleged religious discrimination in violation for the First
Amendment and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized
Persons Act (“RLUIPA”) when he was a prisoner at
Belmont Correctional Institution. The Court has previously
summarized the background of this case:
Plaintiff, a prisoner at Belmont Correctional Institution
(“BCI”), initiated this case in the Northern
District of Ohio on February 6, 2017, by filing a Notice of
Removal. (Doc. 1). In the Complaint, Plaintiff appeared to
challenge a 2008 criminal conviction in the Tuscarawas County
Court of Common Pleas and asserted claims for genocide,
denationalization, unlawful arrest, arbitrary detention,
false imprisonment, kidnaping, torture, and cruel and unusual
punishment, and sought monetary damages. (See Doc. 5
at 1). Plaintiff filed a Motion for Leave to Proceed in
Forma Pauperis on March 13, 2017 (Doc. 2), and an
Amended Complaint on April 5, 2017 (Doc. 4). The Amended
Complaint appeared to supplement, rather than to supersede,
Plaintiff's Complaint. (See Doc. 5 at 1).
In a Memorandum Opinion and Order issued on June 2, 2017,
District Judge Sarah Lioi observed that Plaintiff's
Complaint and Amended Complaint are “largely
incomprehensible, ” consisting “almost entirely
of meaningless rhetoric, with random citation to various
legal and non-legal sources.” (Doc. 5 at 2). Judge Lioi
noted that Plaintiff claimed to have removed a closed
criminal case from state to federal court to challenge his
2008 criminal conviction for drug trafficking, and added
claims in the Amended Complaint pertaining to the practice of
his religion at BCI. (Id. at 1-2). Plaintiff claimed
that BCI Defendants interfered with the practice of his
religion by prohibiting him from wearing a fez on certain
occasions, denying him meals prepared in accordance with his
religious beliefs, and failing to provide religious services
for Moorish Kemetic practitioners. (Id. at 3).
Judge Lioi dismissed Plaintiff's claims related to his
2008 criminal conviction and his freedom of religion claim
against all Defendants except the BCI Warden and Chaplain.
(Id. at 8). Judge Lioi also found that the proper
venue for the claims against the BCI Warden and Chaplain was
in this Court. (Id. at 7). Consequently, Judge Lioi
transferred those claims to this Court. (Id. at 8).
(Doc. 13 at 1-2).
remaining Defendants in this case are Mary Potter and Jeffrey
Burger. At the time of the events underlying this case,
Defendant Potter was the Deputy Warden of Special Services at
Belmont Correctional Institution where she served as
Chairperson of the Accommodation Review Committee, (Doc.
29-1, ¶ 4), and Defendant Burger was a Chaplain at
Belmont Correctional Institution, (Doc. 29-2, ¶ 4).
Three claims remain pending against Defendants Potter and
Burger. First, Plaintiff alleges that, on two
occasions, correctional staff prevented him from wearing his
fez (the “Religious Headwear Claim”). (Doc. 4 at
2-3). Second, Plaintiff alleges that he has been denied
kosher meals “as an alternative to both regular meals
served to the general population and the vegetarian meals
served which both contain harmful Gmo's, [sic] Processed
foods, and Preservatives” in violation of his religious
beliefs (the “Denial of Kosher Meal Claim”).
(Id. at 3). Third, he alleges, Belmont Correctional
Institution “does not provide any Religious Services
for Moorish/Kemetic practitioners” (the “Denial
of Religious Services Claim”). (Id.).
Plaintiff seeks $1, 000, 000 per violation and injunctive and
declarative relief. (Id. at 3).
filed their Motion for Summary Judgment on September 27, 2018
(Doc. 29). Plaintiff filed a response (Doc. 39), and
Defendants filed a reply (Doc. 40). The Motion is now ripe
STANDARD OF REVIEW
judgment is appropriate when “there is no genuine
dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The
party seeking summary judgment bears the initial
“responsibility of informing the district court of the
basis for its motion, and identifying those portions”
of the record that demonstrate “the absence of a
genuine issue of material fact.” Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). The burden then
shifts to the nonmoving party to “set forth specific
facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.”
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250
(1986). “The evidence of the nonmovant is to be
believed, and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in
his favor.” Id. at 255 (citing Adickes v.
S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 158-59 (1970)). A
genuine issue of material fact exists if a reasonable jury
could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248; see also Matsushita
Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574,
586 (1986) (defining “genuine” as more than
“some metaphysical doubt as to the material
facts”). Consequently, the central issue is
“whether the evidence presents a sufficient
disagreement to require submission to a jury or whether it is
so one-sided that one party must prevail as a matter of
law.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 251-52.
Injunctive and ...