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Mitchell v. Prewitt

August 17, 2006

DARYL MITCHELL, PLAINTIFF,
v.
GLEN PREWITT, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Harold A. Baker United States District Judge

Order Granting Summary Judgment

Before the court is the defendant' s motion for summary judgment, which is granted for the reasons below.

The plaintiff alleges that, when he was incarcerated in Western Correctional Center, Defendant Prewitt would not allow the plaintiff to change his religion to African Hebrew Israelite and/or approve a vegan diet for the plaintiff. The plaintiff also alleges that defendant Prewitt treated the African Hebrew Israelite religion differently than other religions, particularly with respect to property allowed such as the "holy book." Defendant Prewitt, in his defense, advanced that the plaintiff failed to submit written verification of his membership in the African Hebrew Israelite religion and the specific and correct requirements of the religious diet, as required by 20 Ill. Admin. Code 425.70(c).

Defendant Prewitt died after the plaintiff filed this action, and Prewitt was later dismissed in his individual capacity. Prewitt remained in his official capacity, however, to the extent the plaintiff sought injunctive or declaratory relief. The court recognized then that an action against the defendant in his official capacity could well be moot, but the record was insufficient on this point.

Summary Judgment Standard

A party moving for summary judgment must show, from the "pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, . . ." that there is no genuine issue of material fact and that the "moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Outlaw v. Newkirk, 259 F.3d 833, 837 (7th Cir. 2001), citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986);Fed. R. Civ. P.56(c); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986); Herman v. National Broadcasting Co., Inc., 744 F.2d 604, 607 (7th Cir. 1984), cert. denied, 470 U.S. 1028 (1985). This burden can be satisfied by "'showing'--that is, pointing out to the district court--that there is an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case." Celotex, 477 U.S. at 325. If such a showing is made, the burden shifts to the non-movant to "set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e); Outlaw, 259 F.3d at 837. A nonmoving party cannot rest on its pleadings, but must demonstrate that there is admissible evidence that will support its position. Tolle v. Carroll Touch, Inc., 23 F.3d 174, 178 (7th Cir. 1994). In determining whether factual issues exist, the court must view all the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Beraha v. Baxter Health Corp., 956 F.2d 1436, 1440 (7th Cir. 1992). "Summary judgment is not a discretionary remedy. If the plaintiff lacks enough evidence, summary judgment must be granted." Jones v. Johnson, 26 F.3d 727, 728 (7th Cir. 1994).

Undisputed Facts

1. The plaintiff's original defendant was Chaplain Glenn Prewitt.

2. Chaplain Prewitt died on November 21, 2004.

3. Chaplain Prewitt was succeeded at Western Illinois Correctional Center by Chaplain William Twaddell.

4. The plaintiff is no longer incarcerated at Western Illinois Correctional Center.

5. The plaintiff is currently incarcerated at Pontiac Correctional Center.

6. The plaintiff has been a declared African Hebrew Israelite since October 27, 2001.

7. The plaintiff has received a vegan diet since his approval to receive said diet ...


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