The opinion of the court was delivered by: Herndon, Chief Judge
During the Final Pretrial Conference, held on November 15, 2007 (see Doc. 209), it became apparent that the parties could not agree upon the remaining issues of law in this case. The following are the proposed issues of law raised by the parties, followed by the Court's findings (in italics):
1. Whether there is an on-going violation of the Plaintiff's rights which would entitle him to injunctive relief.
This was the only issue of law to which the parties agreed.
2. Whether Defendants are entitled to qualified immunity.
Relying on Koger v. Bryan, No. 05-1904, 2008 WL 1821311 at *8 (7th Cir. Apr. 24, 2008), the Court finds there is no feasible way that the doctrine of qualified immunity operates to shield Defendants from liability in this case.
3. Whether RLUIPA allows for monetary damages.
The Court finds that because Plaintiff makes no prior showing of physical injury, he is only entitled to nominal damages and injunctive relief, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(e). The Court bases its finding on Koger,2008 WL 1821311 at *10 (7th Cir. Apr. 24, 2008) (citing Smith v. Allen, 502 F.3d 1255, 1271 (11th Cir. 2007)(holding that the PLRA limits the availability of compensatory and punitive damages under RLUIPA, but leaves open the availability of nominal damages).
4. Whether individual defendants may be liable under RLUIPA, based on their employer's acceptance of federal funds.
Although the Court, in its previous Order (Doc. 206), relied upon the holding of Agrawal v. Briley, No. 02-c-6807, 2006 WL 3523750 (N.D. Ill. Dec. 6, 2006) to find that Defendants could be held liable in their individual capacities, the more recent case of Smith v. Allen, 502 F.3d 1255 (11th Cir. 2007) holds otherwise. Thus, the Court now adopts the rationale of Smith and finds that Defendants cannot be held liable in their individual capacities.
5. Whether the Defendants violated any duty to the Plaintiff created by RLUIPA.
The Court previously found questions of material fact remain to be heard by the trier of fact. Koger clearly establishes the burdens on each of the parties in this regard.
6. Whether Defendants violated the Plaintiff's First Amendment rights.
The Court previously found questions of material fact remain to be heard by the trier of fact. Precedential case law clearly establishes the burdens ...