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Hearn v. Kennell

October 22, 2009

MICHAEL HEARN, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ELDON KENNELL, RICHARD RUNYON, ROBERT R. GRIFFIN, EDDIE JONES, AND ROGER E. WALKER, DEFENDANTS.



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

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Before the court are the defendants, ELDON KENNELL, RICHARD RUNYON, ROBERT R. GRIFFIN, EDDIE JONES, and ROGER E. WALKER's summary judgment motion [31] and the plaintiff's response [34].

Standard

Summary judgment "should be rendered if the pleadings, the discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). Any discrepancies in the factual record should be evaluated in the non-movant's favor. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986) (citing Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 158-59 (1970)). The party moving for summary judgment must show the lack of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). "Only disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248.

"Summary judgment is the 'put up or shut up' moment in a lawsuit, when a party must show what evidence it has that would convince a trier of fact to accept its version of events. Johnson v. Cambridge Indus., Inc., 325 F.3d 892, 901 (7th Cir. 2000). A party opposing summary judgment bears the burden to respond, not simply by resting on its own pleading but by "set[ting] out specific facts showing a genuine issue for trial." See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e). In order to be a "genuine" issue, there must be more than "some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." Matsushita Elec. Ind. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). "If [the non-movant] does not [meet his burden], summary judgment should, if appropriate, be entered against [the non-movant]." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e).

Affidavits must be based on the personal knowledge of the affiant and "set out facts that would be admissible in evidence." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e) (emphasis added). Personal knowledge may include inferences and opinions drawn from those facts. Visser v. Packer Eng. Assoc., Inc., 924 F.2d 655, 659 (7th Cir. 1991). "But the inferences and opinions must be grounded in observation or other first-hand personal experience. They must not be based on flights of fancy, speculations, hunches, intuitions or rumors remote from that experience." Visser, 924 F.2d at 659.

Background

The plaintiff, a state prisoner, filed a complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983, alleging that the defendants violated his rights under the First Amendment, the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), and violated his equal protection rights under the Fourteenth Amendment. The plaintiff claims that the defendants violated his First Amendment rights and his rights under RLUIPA by (1) limiting his ability to wear his kufi; (2) denying him the ability to purchase "non-flammable" scented prayer oils; and (3) denying him a Halal diet. Specifically, this plaintiff wants Halal certified meat. Moreover, the plaintiff claims that the defendants violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment by not providing the plaintiff with a Halal diet from My Own Meals, Inc., while providing a Halal diet from My Own Meals, Inc., to Jewish inmates. The defendants deny that they violated the plaintiff's constitutional rights under the First Amendment, RLUIPA or th Fourteenth Amendment.

Undisputed Material Facts*fn1

1. The plaintiff, Michael Hearn, B-82910, is currently incarcerated at Pontiac Correctional Center.

2. The plaintiff has been incarcerated at Pontiac Correctional Center at all times relevant to his Complaint.

3. At all times relevant to his Complaint, the plaintiff's religious designation has been Islam.

4. According to Departmental Rules, the wearing of religious headgear, including but not limited to fezzes, kufis, and yarmulkes, is limited only to the committed person's immediate sleeping area during prayer and to the area of religious service while the service is being held. (Defendants' Exhibit A, Affidavit of Marcus Hardy).

5. Limitations regarding the wearing of religious headgear are instituted for the safety and security of the ...


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