United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MONTORIO C. HINES, Plaintiff,
ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, S.A. GODINEZ, RICK SUTTON, TERRI BRYANT, CFSS HARRIS, CFSS SNYDER, and CFSS REIMAN, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
MICHAEL J. REAGAN Chief Judge
se Plaintiff Montorio Hines is currently an inmate at
Hill Correctional Center (“Hill”). Hines, a
Muslim, claims that his rights have been violated because
Defendants refused to provide him a Halal diet that includes
Halal meat. When he requested a dietary accommodation, rather
than receiving a diet with Halal meat, Hines was provided
with a diet known as the lacto-ovo diet, which, among other
things, substitutes soy-based proteins for meat. Hines
brought suit for alleged violations of his free exercise and
establishment rights under the First Amendment, his right to
be free from cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth
Amendment, his right to equal protection under the law
pursuant to the Fourteenth Amendment, and his rights as set
forth under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized
Persons Act (“RLUIPA”), 42 U.S.C. §§
2000cc et seq. Defendants filed a motion for summary
judgment (Doc. 42) to which Plaintiff filed a response (Doc.
55). Defendants' summary judgment motion is currently
before the Court, and for the reasons set forth below, the
Defendants' motion (Doc. 42) is GRANTED in part and
DENIED in part.
is currently incarcerated at Hill Correctional Center. (Doc.
43-1, p. 6). From January 2009 to June 2014, he was
incarcerated at Pinckneyville Correctional Center
(“Pinckneyville”). (Id. at 14-15). Hines
is a Muslim and, pursuant to his religious beliefs, is
required to eat a Halal diet that is consistent with the
Qur'an. (Id. at 17-18). According to him, that
means he cannot eat pork, and, if he eats other meat, it must
have a certain prayer or invocation pronounced over it.
(Id. at 18-19). Defendants claim that Hines is not
required to eat meat, but Hines, citing to religious verses
attached to his response, disputes that claim and maintains
that he is required by his faith to eat meat. (Doc. 55, p.
6). At his deposition, however, Hines testified that he was
unsure whether he was required to eat meat at all. (Doc.
43-1, p. 21). He initially testified that he “would not
necessarily say one [who practices Islam] is required to eat
meat, ” but later he said that he did not know whether
the Qur'an required him to eat meat. (Id. at
parties agree that an incarcerated person is permitted to
abstain from any foods, the consumption of which would
violate their required religious tenants. (Doc. 43, p. 3;
Doc. 55, p. 4). Defendants claim, and Plaintiff does not
dispute, that while he was incarcerated at Pinckneyville,
Hines requested to be placed on the lacto-ovo diet for
religious reasons. (Doc. 43, p. 3; Doc. 55, p. 4; Doc. 43-1,
p. 27-29). The lacto-ovo diet is a meatless diet,
characterized as vegetarian by Hines. (Doc. 43-1, p. 23). He
believes it differs in some respects from the diet option
offered by IDOC that is specifically designated
“vegetarian.” (Id. at 46). According to
Defendant Terri Bryant, Food Services Manager at
Pinckneyville, the lacto-ovo diet consists of all of the
items on the general population food menu, except that all
meat and meat by-products are replaced with soy products.
(Doc. 43-3, p. 1). Ms. Bryant also asserts that the lacto-ovo
diet is approved for Muslim inmates. (Id.). Hines,
however, argues that while the lacto-ovo diet is
“approved for Muslims by the Courts and enforced by the
Department of Corrections in Illinois… it is not
derived from nor has its origins in the rulings of
Islam.” (Doc. 55, p. 4-5).
Bryant did not indicate what the specific food items on the
lacto-ovo diet consist of, Plaintiff testified as to the
Well, the lacto-ovo diet, you can eat cheese, you can, you
can have milk. You know, rice, beans, you know, the salad.
You know, peanut butter, jelly. You know, you still can get
the eggs. You get cheese.
You know, we still was able to get basically those items that
the general population was allow to have other than basically
the meat, so to substitute the meat, of course, which is, you
know, the lacto-ovo is a vegetarian diet.
And so as a substitution for the meat was like the vegan
(Doc. 43-1, p. 23). Plaintiff testified that he was placed on
the lacto-ovo diet after completing a religious dietary
request. (Id. at 27-28). An IDOC memo shows that
Hines applied for a lacto-ovo diet on the basis of his
religious beliefs as a Muslim inmate on February 23, 2011.
(Doc. 43-2). As part of the application process, he was
interviewed by the Defendant Bryant and Defendant Sutton, the
chaplain. (43-1, p. 27-28). He was approved for the diet on
February 26, 2011, and was scheduled to start the diet on
March 1, 2011. (Doc. 43-2).
at Pinckneyville, Hines could purchase certain Halal meat at
the commissary, though there were relatively few Halal items
compared to non-Halal items. (Doc. 55, p. 5; Doc. 43-1, p.
30). He testified that he could not always afford to
supplement his lacto-ovo diet with Halal items from the
commissary. (Doc. 43-1, p. 51). In June 2014, Plaintiff was
transferred from Pinckneyville to Hill Correctional Center.
(Doc. 43-1, p. 6). Regarding the Hill commissary, Hines
testified that he did not know if there were any Halal food
items available for purchase at Hill; however, he stated in
his response to Defendants' summary judgment motion that
there are no Halal items at the Hill commissary. (Doc. 55, p.
7; Doc. 43-1, p. 30).
being transferred to Hill, Hines is no longer on the
lacto-ovo diet. (Doc. 43-1, p. 22). He claims that he stopped
eating the diet due to his health deteriorating because of
the amount of soy in the diet. (Id. at 50).
According to Hines, the lacto-ovo diet caused him to go to
the healthcare unit two or three times with stomach pain.
(Id. at 24, 52). He also claims he lost fifteen to
twenty pounds during the same time period. (Id. at
24). Attached to his response, Hines included several pages
of medical records which he claims demonstrate that the
lacto-ovo diet caused him “serious abdominal
complications, ” and weight loss. (Doc. 55-1, p. 1 -
12; Doc. 55, p. 6). According to the IDOC Food Service
Administrator, Suzann Bailey, however, the regular diet food
tray is designed to provide roughly 2300-2500 calories and at
least eight ounces of protein to inmates daily, and the
lacto-ovo diet is designed to provide “similar caloric
intake as the regular diet tray.” (Doc. 43-4). Hines,
however, does not challenge the general nutritional adequacy
of the lacto-ovo diet; rather, he argues that the diet is
inadequate specifically for him, as evidenced by his weight
loss and “abdominal complications.” (Doc. 55, p.
first grieved the lack of a Halal diet consistent with his
religious beliefs on October 30, 2011. (Doc. 1, p. 20-23). He
grieved the lack of Halal meat and claimed that the diet was
not nutritionally adequate. (Id.). His grievance was
denied on November 10, 2011. (Id. at 20). There is
no indication from the grievance that any of the Defendants
were personally aware of it. Hines filed another grievance on
February 6, 2013, raising numerous issues relating to his
diet. (Id. at 40). In the grievance, Hines claimed
that his diet was inadequate because he had lost 12 to 15
pounds and had gotten sick from the soy in the diet.
(Id. at 40-41). He claimed he had resorted to eating
non-Halal food as a result of these issues. (Id. at
41). As part of his relief, Plaintiff sought to be placed on
a soy-free diet that was Halal. (Id. at 40). On
February 17, 2013, Plaintiff grieved the inadequacy of his
brunch meal at Pinckneyville. (Id. at 42-43). He
claimed various food items that he could have eaten were
“embargoed” and kept from Muslim inmates and
that, as a result, his diet was inadequate, causing him
either to lose weight or to have to violate his faith by
eating non-Halal food to sustain his health. (Id. at
August 13, 2013, a grievance officer responded to both the
February 2 and February 17 grievances and noted that, in
addition to financial compensation, Hines sought a soy-free
Halal diet. (Id. at 44). The report included a
summary of a response from Defendant Bryant. (Id.).
She indicated that there was no “embargo” of food
and that she spoke to the inmate diet cooks to remind them to
place all menu items on the food trays. Bryant said that if
Hines had future issues with not receiving his food, he
should notify the on-duty CFSS immediately. She also
indicated that brunch menus for religious diet participants
mirror the general menu with substitutions made only for meat
products. Bryant did not squarely address Plaintiff's
complaints of nutritional inadequacy. (Id.). She
also did not address Plaintiff's request for a Halal
diet. (Id.). It is also indicated as part of the
response that Defendant Bryant spoke with Defendant Reiman as
a result of the issues raised in Plaintiff's grievances.
(Id.). Ultimately, Plaintiff's grievances were
filed the present suit on May 9, 2014, naming as defendants
the Illinois Department of Corrections, its director, S.A.
Godinez, and officials and staff members from Pinckneyville:
Rick Sutton (chaplain), Terri Bryant (Dietary Supervisor),
CFSS Harris (Dietary Staff), CFSS Snyder (Dietary Staff), and
CFSS Reiman (Dietary Staff). On July 8, 2014, the Court
issued a merits review order pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915A. (Doc. 9). In its order, the Court found that only
certain claims of Count One survived: specifically,
Hines's RLUIPA claim against Defendants in their official
capacities only, Hines's First and Fourteenth Amendment
claims, and his Eighth Amendment claims regarding weight loss
and health problems only. (Id. at 9). On May 20, 2016,
the Defendants filed the present motion for summary judgment
(Doc. 42), and Plaintiff filed a Response (Doc. 55). The
motion is now ripe and ready for disposition.
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure governs summary
judgment motions. Summary judgment is “appropriate if
the admissible evidence considered as a whole shows that
‘there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact
and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law.'” Dynegy Mktg. & Trade v. Multi
Corp., 648 F.3d 506, 517 (7th Cir. 2011) (citing
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a)); see also Ruffin-Thompkins v.
Experian Info. Solutions, Inc., 422 F.3d 603, 607 (7th
Cir. 2005). The party seeking summary judgment bears the
initial burden of demonstrating the lack of any genuine issue
of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S.
317, 323 (1986).
properly supported motion for summary judgment is made, the
adverse party “must set forth specific facts showing
that there is a genuine issue for trial.” Anderson
v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986)
(quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)(2)). A genuine issue of material
fact remains if the “evidence is such that a reasonable
jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.”
Bunn v. Khoury Enterpr. Inc., 753 F.3d 676, 682 (7th
Cir. 2014)(quoting Anderson 477 U.S. at 248). In
assessing a summary judgment motion, the district court views
the facts in the light most favorable to, and draws all
reasonable inferences in favor of, the nonmoving party.
Anderson v. Donahoe, 699 F.3d 989, 994 (7th Cir.