United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Western Division, Dayton
JAMES P. DEVORE, Plaintiff,
GARY C. MOHR, et al., Defendants.
A. Sargus, Chief Judge
AND RECOMMENDATION THAT (1) PRO SE
PLAINTIFF'S CLAIMS FOR INJUNCTIVE RELIEF BE DISMISSED AS
MOOT; (2) SUMMARY JUDGMENT (DOC. 17) BE GRANTED IN FAVOR OF
DEFENDANTS; AND (3) PLAINTIFF'S REMAINING CLAIMS AGAINST
DEFENDANT IMAM SUNNI ISLAM BE DISMISSED; AND (4) THIS CASE BE
TERIMINATED ON THE DOCKET.
MICHAEL J. NEWMAN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
a civil case in which pro se Plaintiff, James P.
Devore, a former inmate at Belmont Correctional Institute
(“BeCI”) asserts, inter alia, civil
rights claims under the Religious Land Use and
Institutionalized Persons Act (“RLUIPA”), 42
U.S.C. § 2000cc, et. seq., and the Federal
Statute 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Doc. 3. His claims arise from
alleged conduct by a number of officials and employees at
BeCI prior to and during Ramadan 2017, while Devore, a Muslim
who practices the Islamic faith, was incarcerated there.
Id. at 58-63. Devore named as Defendants Gary C.
Mohr (“Mohr”), director of the Ohio Department of
Rehabilitation and Correction (“ODRC”); Michael
Davis (“Davis”), religious services Administrator
of ODRC; Clark Scott (“Scott”), former Deputy
Warden at BeCI; Mary Potter (“Potter”), current
Deputy Warden at BeCI; Jeffrey Burger (“Burger”),
Chaplain at BeCI; and Imam Sunni Islam, Muslim Service
Provider at BeCI.
Davis, Scott, Potter, and Burger (collectively,
“Defendants”) filed a motion for summary judgment
(doc. 17), to which Plaintiff filed a memorandum in
opposition (doc. 18), and Defendants filed a reply (doc. 20).
The motion is now ripe for decision. Given his pro
se status, all of Plaintiff's pleadings have been
liberally construed in his favor. Estelle v. Gamble,
429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976).
motion for summary judgment should be granted if the evidence
submitted to the Court demonstrates there is no genuine issue
as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to
summary judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56; see
also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986);
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242,
247-48 (1986). “Summary judgment is appropriate
‘if the pleadings, depositions, answers to
interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the
affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to
any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a
judgment as a matter of law.'” Keweenaw Bay
Indian Comm. v. Rising, 477 F.3d 881, 886 (6th Cir.
2007) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)). “Weighing of the
evidence or making credibility determinations are prohibited
at summary judgment -- rather, all facts must be viewed in
the light most favorable to the non-moving party.”
“a motion for summary judgment is properly made and
supported, an opposing party may not rely merely on
allegations or denials in its own pleading[.]”
Viergutz v. Lucent Techs., Inc., 375 Fed.Appx. 482,
485 (6th Cir. 2010) (citation omitted). Instead, the party
opposing summary judgment has a shifting burden and
“must -- by affidavits or as otherwise provided in this
rule -- set out specific facts showing a genuine issue for
trial.” Id. (citation omitted). Failure
“to properly address another party's assertion of
fact as required by Rule 56(c)” could result in the
Court “consider[ing] the fact undisputed for purposes
of the motion.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)(2).
“there is no duty imposed upon the trial court to
‘search the entire record to establish that it is
bereft of a genuine issue of material fact.'”
Guarino v. Brookfield Twp. Trs., 980 F.2d 399, 404
(6th Cir. 1992) (citations omitted). Instead, “[i]t is
the attorneys, not the judges, who have interviewed the
witnesses and handled the physical exhibits; it is the
attorneys, not the judges, who have been present at the
depositions; and it is the attorneys, not the judges, who
have a professional and financial stake in case
outcome.” Id. at 406. In other words,
“the free-ranging search for supporting facts is a task
for which attorneys in the case are equipped and for which
courts generally are not.” Id.
of the Muslim faith participating in Ramadan -- a Muslim
holiday, which lasts about thirty days -- fast from sun up to
sun down. PageID 58. To accommodate this religious practice,
ODRC policy provides that participating inmates shall receive
two meals a day -- apart from the rest of the prison
population -- to be eaten before the day's fast begins
and after the daily fast ends. Id.
received the Ramadan meal accommodations for “many
years” during his incarceration. Id. It is
ODRC policy that the “Imam providing religious services
for the institution” has sole discretion in determining
membership of the Islamic faith and, in turn, determining who
is eligible to receive the meal accommodations,
i.e., who is on the “Ramadan list.”
PageID 60. In 2017, Imam Sunni Islam removed Plaintiff from
the Ramadan list, rendering him ineligible to receive meal
accommodations. PageID 59. As a result, during Ramadan of
2017, Plaintiff was forced to choose between “adequate
nutrition” or “violat[ing] a central tenet
[sic] of faith.” PageID 60. Ultimately, during
Ramadan that year, he ate “from only the selections
that he purchased” and lived on “chips, ramen
soups, cookies and what he had on hand.” PageID 166.
This caused him to feel weak, anxious, and prevented him from
“achieving  peace and focus, ” a chief aim of
Ramadan. PageID 60.
to and during Ramadan, Plaintiff filed grievances seeking
reinstatement to the Ramadan list. Specifically, Plaintiff
filed an Informal Complaint Resolution with Defendant Scott,
who responded that the complaint “will be answered by
[Defendant Potter].” PageID 63-64. Potter denied
Plaintiff's grievance, finding that “the staff
action was a valid exercise of [Imam Sunni's]
discretion.” PageID 78. Devore further alleges that he
was subsequently excluded from two other Muslim holidays
after he filed the first grievance. PageID 20. By Ramadan in
2018, Devore was reinstated by Imam Sunni Islam as a member
of the Islamic faith and was permitted to receive meal
accommodations. PageID 163.
was subsequently released from BeCI on May 2,
2019. Offender Search, Ohio Dep't of Rehab.
& Corr. record available at
(last visited Jul. 29, 2019). Because Plaintiff's release
prevents this Court from being able to grant the injunctive
relief he seeks, Fredette v. Hemingway, 65 Fed.Appx.
929, 931 (6th Cir. 2003), he was ordered to show cause on or
before June 11, 2019 as to why his claims for injunctive
relief should not be dismissed as moot. Doc. 23. Plaintiff
failed to do so.
Claims for Injunctive Relief under § 1983 and
filed claims for injunctive relief under § 1983 and
RLUIPA. PageID 55. For the reasons set forth in
the aforementioned Show Cause Order, all of Plaintiff's
claims for injunctive relief should be dismissed as
moot.Id. The only claims that should
remain pending before this Court are Plaintiff's §
1983 claims for monetary damages against Defendants in their