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RABB RA CHAKA v. FRANZEN

December 18, 1989

RABB RA CHAKA, Plaintiff,
v.
GAYLE M. FRANZEN, et al., Defendants


Marvin E. Aspen, United States District Judge.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: ASPEN

MARVIN E. ASPEN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

 Pro se plaintiff Rabb Ra Chaka brings this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983. He sues Illinois Department of Corrections officials for violations of his civil rights which allegedly occurred when defendants ordered a "lockdown" at Stateville Correctional Center ("Stateville"), and thereafter placed Stateville under a "unit management system." Ra Chaka, a Muslim, objects to limitations imposed on his religious freedoms pursuant to the change in Stateville's prison management system. This action comes before the court on defendants' motion for summary judgment pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 56. For the reasons discussed below, the court grants defendants' motion for summary judgment and dismisses this action in its entirety.

 FACTS

 Ra Chaka filed this lawsuit five months after Stateville officials implemented a state of emergency and subsequent lockdown at Stateville on February 23, 1979. Pursuant to the lockdown, officials reclassified all inmates into one of three categories (aggressive and predatory types, normal-situational types, and passive-dependent types). After completing the reclassification, defendants separated inmates by those same categories into respective "houses" or units. See Richard DeRobertis Affidavit, Doc.7, Ex.A., p.1 ("DeRobertis Aff."). *fn1" Every effort was made to keep the groups from mixing and each unit was under the supervision of its own "Unit Manager." Id. The new "unit management system" was modeled after one already in existence in the federal penitentiary system.

 In July, 1979 following the lockdown, Assistant Warden Richard DeRobertis denied a request by Muslim inmates to provide bi-monthly, inter-unit assemblies for the Jumah Prayer service. The Jumah service is the Muslim weekly religious observance mandated by the Koran, the Muslim Holy Book. DeRobertis denied the request as antithetical to the concept of "unit management" because it involved mixing the various "units" or cellhouses. Id. at p.2. DeRobertis, however, authorized the prison's Islamic chaplain to conduct individual Jumah services at the various cellhouses, at locations approved by the respective Unit Managers. Id. Four days after DeRobertis denied the inter-unit Jumah assemblies (but authorized individual cellhouse Jumah services), Ra Chaka filed this lawsuit.

 Ra Chaka alleges that the lockdown and Stateville's subsequent conversion to the unit management system violated the free exercise clause of the first amendment because it limited him in the exercise of his Muslim beliefs. He asserts that defendants violated his first amendment rights when they prohibited him from attending weekly Jumah services. He also alleges that defendants violated his equal protection rights because they failed to provide Muslim inmates with the same amount of funding and religious materials provided to other religious groups. Defendants contend that the issues are moot because Stateville now conducts weekly Jumah services and that, in any event, defendants are shielded from liability by the eleventh amendment.

 For a period, this lawsuit was consolidated with another lawsuit, Hakim v. Franzen, 79 C 3124, a class action which plaintiffs ultimately voluntarily dismissed. In January 1980, however, the court vacated the consolidation order upon Ra Chaka's request that he be allowed to proceed separately on his original complaint.

 DISCUSSION

 A pro se plaintiff's complaint must be liberally construed. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21, 30 L. Ed. 2d 652, 92 S. Ct. 594 (1972). Additionally, summary judgment is not appropriate unless there exists no genuine issue of material fact, and defendants are entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Egger v. Phillips, 669 F.2d 497, 502 (7th Cir. 1982), cert. denied, 464 U.S. 918, 78 L. Ed. 2d 262, 104 S. Ct. 284 (1983).

 A. Preliminary Issues.

 Stateville currently conducts weekly Jumah services on Fridays. Defendants' Supplemental Memorandum, Doc. 70, Ledford Affidavit; Muhammad Affidavit. Additionally, Reverend David Ledford and Agin Muhammed, both chaplains at Stateville, also attest that numerous Islamic Studies classes are conducted throughout the week, (weekly class schedules were attached to the affidavits), and that Muslim religious personnel and materials are also provided to the Muslim inmates. Id. In his responsive pleadings Ra Chaka does not refute these facts. Because weekly Jumah services are now provided at Stateville, as are religious personnel and materials, defendants argue that Ra Chaka's claim is moot.

 Ra Chaka's petition for injunctive and declaratory relief is moot regarding his request for weekly Jumah services, because those services are now provided at Stateville. See e.g., Young v. Coughlin, 866 F.2d 567, 568 n.1, (2d Cir.), cert. denied, 492 U.S. 909, 109 S. Ct. 3224, 106 L. Ed. 2d 573 (1989). His claim for money damages, however, allegedly resulting from defendants' failure to provide weekly adequate religious services in the past is not moot. See Johnson-Bey v. Lane, 863 F.2d 1308, 1312 (7th Cir. 1988).

 Defendants also argue that they are protected from liability in their official capacity by the eleventh amendment which prohibits damage actions against state officials in their official capacity unless the state consents to the suit. See e.g., Shockley v. Jones, 823 F.2d 1068, 1070-71 (7th Cir. 1987). As stated in the caption of his Complaint, however, Ra Chaka expressly sued the defendants in both their individual and official capacities. The eleventh amendment does not shield a state public official from potential liability when he is sued in his personal or individual capacity (as contrasted with his official capacity). Shockley, 823 F.2d at 1070. Consequently, Ra Chaka's claim for money damages against ...


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