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Salik v. Illinois Department of Corrections

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

December 1, 2016

ABDULLAH SALIK, Plaintiff,
v.
ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, JACQUELINE LASHBROOK, THOMAS A. SPILLER, and RICHARD ARNOLD, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          NANCY J. ROSENSTENGEL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Abdullah Salik, an inmate in Pinckneyville Correctional Center, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff seeks a Halal or Kosher diet, compensatory damages, and punitive damages. (Doc. 1, p. 10). This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which provides:

(a) Screening - The court shall review, before docketing, if feasible or, in any event, as soon as practicable after docketing, a complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity.
(b) Grounds for Dismissal - On review, the court shall identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint-
(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or
(2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.

         An action or claim is frivolous if “it lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact.” Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). Frivolousness is an objective standard that refers to a claim that any reasonable person would find meritless. Lee v. Clinton, 209 F.3d 1025, 1026-27 (7th Cir. 2000). An action fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted if it does not plead “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). The claim of entitlement to relief must cross “the line between possibility and plausibility.” Id. at 557. At this juncture, the factual allegations of the pro se complaint are to be liberally construed. See Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).

         The Complaint

         In June 2015, Plaintiff requested a Halal or Lacto-ovo diet based on his religious affiliation as a Muslim. (Doc. 1, p. 38). Defendant Arnold, the chaplain, denied the request on June 9, 2015. (Doc. 1, p. 37).

         Plaintiff alleges that around the same time, he also sent Arnold a request to participate in the Islamic fast of Ramadhan. (Doc. 1, p. 6). Arnold allegedly sent Plaintiff back a contract, stating that “I will participate in the Religious Prayer Qur'an reading etc., all to be done in the chapel.” (Doc. 1, p. 6). Plaintiff dislikes chapel services because they are not led by an Iman, and when Plaintiff led prayer services a few years prior, he was issued a ticket for gang activity. (Doc. 1, p. 6). In light of that incident, Plaintiff prefers to worship in his cell by himself. (Doc. 1, p. 6). Plaintiff sent Arnold an altered contract that stated he would pray on his own and not participate in group chapel services. (Doc. 1, p. 6). Arnold told Plaintiff he had to attend chapel services in the evening during Ramadhan in order to participate in the fast and receive an evening meal tray. (Doc. 1, p. 6).

         Plaintiff was removed from the Ramadhan list three days into the fast on June 20, 2015. (Doc. 1, p. 7). Other than refusing to attend chapel services, Plaintiff claims that he did not violate any other religious diet rules, such as eating or drinking during the day or eating food outside of his requested religious diet. (Doc. 1, p. 7).

         Plaintiff was approved for a religious diet on September 2, 2015, however, the diet he received was a vegan diet instead of a Lacto-ovo or Halal diet. (Doc. 1, p. 9). Plaintiff requested to be removed from the vegan diet on January 5, 2016, because he was not receiving milk, cheese, or eggs, and the vegan diet was not a true religious diet. (Doc. 1, p. 9). Arnold and Warden Lashbrook granted the request on January 7, 2015, [1] but specified that Plaintiff would be removed from the diet on the last day of January 2016. (Doc. 1, p. 9).

         Discussion

         Based on the allegations of the complaint, the Court finds it convenient to divide the prose action into three counts. The parties and the Court will use these designations in all future pleadings and orders, ...


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