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Allah v. Jordan-Luster

August 3, 2007

SHAHEED ALLAH, A.K.A. FLOYD MAY #B17282 PLAINTIFF,
v.
ADELLA JORDAN-LUSTER, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



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

ORDER AND MEMORANDUM OPINION

Before the court are the Plaintiff's motion for partial summary judgment [43], the Defendants' response [46], Defendants' summary judgment motion [57] and Plaintiff's response [83] and Defendants' reply [85]. The defendants, ADELLA JORDAN-LUSTER, STEPHEN D. MOTE, ROGER E. WALKER JR., MELODY J. FORD, ELDON KENNELL, MICHAEL MELVIN, RICHARD RUNYON, and HENRY WALTON, moves for summary judgment through their attorney, Lisa Madigan, Attorney General of the State of Illinois, and pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and CDIL-LR-7.1.

Standard

Summary judgment "shall be rendered forthwith if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with 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." Fed. R. Civ. P.56(c); Outlaw v. Newkirk, 259 F.3d 833, 837 (7th Cir. 2001), citing 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). 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). Further, 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). Credibility questions "defeat summary judgment only '[w]here an issue as to a material fact cannot be resolved without observation of the demeanor of witnesses in order to evaluate their credibility.'" Outlaw, 259 F.3d at 838, citing Advisory Committee Notes, 1963 Amendment to Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e)(other citations omitted).

Fed. Rule Civ. Pro. Rule 56(c) "mandates the entry of summary judgment, after adequate time for discovery and upon motion, against a party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial." Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322. "Where the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the non-moving party there is no 'genuine' issue for trial." Mechnig v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 864 F.2d 1359 (7th Cir. 1988). A "metaphysical doubt" will not suffice. Matsushita Elec. Industrial Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). Disputed facts are material only if they might affect the outcome of the suit. First Ind. Bank v. Baker, 957 F.2d 506, 507-08 (7th Cir. 1992). The mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for summary judgment. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, *247-248, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 2510 (1986).

Background

Plaintiff is an inmate currently incarcerated at Pontiac Correctional Center. Plaintiff filed his Amended Complaint, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging violations of the First Amendment and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act ("RLUIPA"), 42 U.S.C. § 2000cc-1 et seq. Specifically, Plaintiff claims his federal rights have been violated by Defendants' failure to provide him with a Halal diet or an alternative diet. Plaintiff's religious affiliation is documented in Departmental records as Muslim, which is also known as the Al-Islam faith. He also appears to claim that Defendant Runyon allegedly "knowingly and willingly refused to deliver a vegan tray to the Plaintiff after being ordered to do so by the warden." Further, the plaintiff claims Runyon deprived the plaintiff of his right to receive a religious diet and "additionally, participate in the fast of Ramadan in a meaningful way."

UNDISPUTED MATERIAL FACTS

1. Plaintiff is a member of the Al-Islam faith, which is also referred to as the Muslim faith. Defendants' Exhibit 1, Deposition of Plaintiff Floyd May, taken March 30, 2005, ("Dep.") at 6, lines 14- 19; Amended Complaint, ¶ 6. Plaintiff is a Muslim whose beliefs are sincerely held. See Plaintiff's Statement of Undisputed Facts and/or Declaration [44].

2. Plaintiff requested to be provided with a Halal diet. Id.

3. Plaintiff requested a vegan or vegetarian diet as an alternative if a Halal diet could not be provided. Id.

4. Plaintiff explained in detail in his letters and grievances what a Halal diet was and how it related to Plaintiff being a Muslim. Id.

5. Plaintiff explained in detail in his letters and grievances why he could not eat the meat or meals served with meat offered through the general menu. Id.

6. Plaintiff was in segregation during the events described in his Complaint. Plaintiff could not go to the prison dining hall during the events described in his Complaint. Id.

7. During the events described in Plaintiff's Complaint, Plaintiff could not purchase food from the prison commissary. Id.

8. During the events described in Plaintiff's Complaint, Plaintiff had no power to choose what food would be placed on his meal trays. Id.

9. Plaintiff requested that Defendants confer with Aqueel Khan, the Muslim Chaplain, to verify the validity of the Plaintiff's dietary request. Id.

10. Aqueel Khan was the Muslim Chaplain for Pontiac Correctional Center during all times relevant to Plaintiff's Complaint. Id.

11. Defendants did not speak with Aqueel Khan (Muslim Chaplain) about Plaintiff's religious dietary request. Id.

12. Plaintiff first request for a religious diet as it relates to this action occurred in the Summer of 2003. Id.

13. Defendants did not offer Plaintiff a religious dietary accommodation until September 7, 2004, over a year from the initial request. Id.

14. Defendants denied Plaintiff a Halal diet based on the alleged belief that the only dietary restriction for Muslims is the abstinence of pork and pork by-products. Id.

15. During the time period relevant to the events in Plaintiff's Complaint, to the Defendants' knowledge, the only known requirement for members of the Al-Islam or Muslim faith was abstaining from pork or pork byproducts. Defendant's Exhibit 2, affidavit of Adella Jordan-Luster; Defendants' Exhibit 1, Dep. at 14, lines 6-8.

16. Plaintiff does not share the belief that the only dietary restriction for Muslims is the abstinence of pork and pork by-products. Id.

17. Pontiac Correctional Center was already in compliance with this dietary requirement as pork and pork by-products are not served at Pontiac. Defendant's ...


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