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Moro v. Winsor

September 22, 2008

JOHN MORO, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ANGELA WINSOR, ET AL., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: J. Phil Gilbert District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

This matter comes before the Court on the Report and Recommendation ("Report") (Doc. 110) of Magistrate Judge Clifford J. Proud recommending that the Court grant in part and deny in part the motion for summary judgment filed by defendants Gregory Lambert, Roger Walker, Jr., Julie Wilkerson and Angela Winsor (Doc. 76). Plaintiff John Moro has objected to the Report (Doc. 112).

I. Report Review Standard

After reviewing a magistrate judge's report and recommendation, the Court may accept, reject or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations of the magistrate judge in the report. Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b). The Court must review de novo the portions of the report to which objections are made. "If no objection or only partial objection is made, the district court judge reviews those unobjected portions for clear error." Johnson v. Zema Systems Corp., 170 F.3d 734, 739 (7th Cir. 1999).

II. The Report

The Report notes that the Court has previously identified a § 1983 claim for violation of Moro's First Amendment rights and a claim under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act ("RLUIPA"), 42 U.S.C. § 2000cc-1(a). The Report also identifies a § 1983 claim for violation of Moro's Fourteenth Amendment equal protection rights.

With respect to Moro's First Amendment claims, the Report finds as follows:

* Delays in receiving religious books and tapes -- Whether the delays resulting from review by the prison's Publication Review Committee place a substantial burden on Moro's exercise of his religion and whether such delays are justified cannot be determined conclusively from the evidence in the record.

* Denial of the opportunity to gather in the chapel or on religious feast days -- Issues of fact remain about whether reasonable opportunities were afforded to Moro for him to gather in furtherance of his religious beliefs.

* Prohibition of certain religious items -- Issues of fact remain about whether the restrictions were sufficiently justified by institutional order and security.

With respect to Moro's RLUIPA claims, the Report finds that there is insufficient evidence to show that the burdens placed on Moro's exercise of his religion were justified by a compelling interest and were the least restrictive means of furthering that interest.

The Report further finds that the defendants are not entitled to qualified immunity because the law regarding religious freedom was well established at the time of the events in this case. They are, however, entitled to immunity under the Eleventh Amendment from Moro's § 1983 claim to the extent they are sued in their official capacities, although they are not immune from his RLUIPA claims. The Report further finds Moro's claims for injunctive relief are moot since he has been moved from Big Muddy Correctional Center, where the events of which he complains occurred.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Report disposes of some claims. It finds there is no genuine issue of fact that Walker and Lambert were not personally involved in the alleged deprivation of Moro's constitutional rights and are therefore entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Similarly, there is no dispute that Wilkerson and Winsor were not involved in decisions regarding Moro's job assignments or his transfer to ...


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