United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
DONALD G. WILKERSON, Magistrate Judge.
Now pending before the Court is the Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Defendants, Russell Goins, Timothy Love, Tim McCallister, and Lee Ryker on October 18, 2013 (Doc. 87). For the reasons set forth below, the Motion is GRANTED.
The events surrounding Plaintiff's Complaint occurred while he was an inmate at the Lawrence Correctional Center ("Lawrence CC") from 2004-2007. Plaintiff is a practicing African Hebrew Israelite and his claims stem, for the most part, from Defendants', who were all employees of the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC), actions with respect to his religion. In particular, Plaintiff alleges that he was deprived of the ability to meaningfully practice his religion and subjected to sub-standard conditions of confinement in violation of the First, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments, and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act ("RLUIPA"), 42 U.S.C. §2000cc, et seq. Plaintiff's original Complaint was filed on November 21, 2006 and an Amended Complaint, setting forth 13 Counts against 23 entities in their individual and official capacities, was filed on July 31, 2007 (Doc. 13).
On February 27, 2008, Plaintiff's claims were screened pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A and various claims and parties were dismissed (Doc. 18). On November 2, 2011,  other claims and Defendants also were dismissed: the remaining claims included Counts 4, 6, 7, 8, 10, and 12 and Plaintiff was limited to individual capacity suits. On December 12, 2012, this Court held a hearing pursuant to Pavey v. Conley , 544 F.3d 739 (7th Cir. 2008), to determine whether Plaintiff had exhausted his administrative remedies prior to filing suit. As a result of that hearing, and pursuant to an Order (Doc. 77), a number of Defendants were dismissed. As a result of all of these Orders, Plaintiff is proceeding on the following claims and against the following Defendants, in their individual capacity:
COUNT 4: Against Defendants Love and Ryker for violating his right to freely exercise his religion under the First Amendment (denying him religious meals).
COUNT 6: Against Defendants Love and Ryker for violating the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment (unequal allocation of funds for religious services and programs).
COUNT 7: Against Defendants Love and Ryker for violating Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment rights (nutritionally inadequate meals).
COUNT 8: Against Defendants Love and Ryker for violating Plaintiff's rights to due process and equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment with regard to Counts 4, 6, and 7.
COUNT 10: Against Defendants Goins and McCallister for violating his free exercise rights under the First Amendment by forcing him to receive a "T.B. shot" on the Sabbath.
COUNT 12: Against Defendants Love; Ryker; Goins; and McCallister for having inadequate policies, for failure to train, and for failure to take corrective action when they had the opportunity to do so.
( Id. at 8).
At the time of the allegations, Defendant Love was a Chaplain, Defendant Ryker was the Warden, Defendant Goins was a Lieutenant, and Defendant McAllister was a Sergeant. Defendants now have filed a Motion for Summary Judgment arguing, in part, that there is no evidence to support Plaintiff's claims (Docs. 87 and 88). Plaintiff filed a response on March 10, 2014 (Doc. 97). No reply has been filed.
Plaintiff is an African Hebrew Israelite, a religion that requires, as a tenet of faith, that adherents comply with a vegan diet (Benyehudah Whitfield Declaration (hereinafter "Whitfield Dec.") ¶ 5; Doc. 97-1). While Plaintiff alleges that he was denied a vegan meal during his incarceration, the evidence reveals that he was in fact placed on a vegan diet while incarcerated at Lawrence CC ( Id. ¶¶ 5-6). At his deposition, Plaintiff testified as follows:
Q. So to be clear, you are not saying that the vegan diet itself didn't comply with the dietary laws of the African Hebrew Israelites; is that correct?
A. That is correct.
Q. You are asserting that the diet failed to provide adequate nutrition?
A. That is correct.
Q. And you are not asserting that Chaplain Love denied you your vegan meals; is that correct?
A. That is correct.
Q. You are not asserting that Defendant Ryker denied you ...