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Bankston v. Williams

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

May 15, 2019

JOHNNIE BANKSTON, Plaintiff,
v.
MICHAEL WILLIAMS, JEFFREY DENNISON, and SAMUEL STERRETT, Defendants.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS

          MARK A. BEATTY, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         The matter has been referred to United States Magistrate Judge Mark A. Beatty by United States District Judge Nancy J. Rosenstengel pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B), Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72(b), and SDIL-LR 72.1(a) for a Report and Recommendation on the motion to dismiss (Doc. 162). It is recommended that the District Court adopt the following findings of fact and conclusions of law, and the motion to dismiss (Doc. 162) be DENIED.

         Background

         On June 11, 2018, Plaintiff filed his third amended complaint, naming Jeffrey Dennison, Michael Williams, and Samuel Sterrett as Defendants in their individual and official capacities (Doc. 129). Plaintiff's third amended complaint contains four counts: (1) First Amendment claim for denial of religious services against Defendants Dennison, Williams, and Sterrett; (2) claim for injunctive relief under the Religious Lands and Institutionalized Persons Act against Defendants Dennison and Sterrett; (3) First Amendment claim for non-conforming kosher diet against Defendants Dennison, Williams, and Sterrett; and, (4) supervisory claim against Defendant Dennison (Id.).

         On October 25, 2018, Plaintiff voluntarily dismissed counts 2 and 4 of his third amended complaint (Doc. 145). After Plaintiff's voluntary dismissal, only two claims remain in this action: (1) First Amendment claim for denial of religious services against Defendants Dennison, Williams, and Sterrett; and, (3) First Amendment claim for non-conforming kosher diet against Defendants Dennison, Williams, and Sterrett (Id.)

         Defendant Sterrett now moves to dismiss the claims against him in counts 1 and 3 of Plaintiff's third amended complaint because he contends Plaintiff has failed to plead facts sufficient to show Defendant Sterrett was personally involved in any of the alleged constitutional deprivations (Doc. 162).

         Factual Background[1]

         In his third amended complaint, Plaintiff alleges the following relevant facts related to counts 1 and 3:

8. Upon information and belief, Defendant Samuel Sterrett (“Defendant Sterrett”) is the current Chaplain at Shawnee and is responsible for conducting and supervising religious activities within the correctional facility. He is sued in his official and individual capacities; 23. Upon information and belief, Williams informed Bankston that services for NGE adherents would begin on April 5, 2015 and instructed him to notify his fellow adherents of the scheduled services.
25. On May 16, 2015, Bankston filed his first grievance against Williams for neglecting to schedule services for NGE adherents.
26. At an unspecified date in early June of 2015, Bankston met with Williams again and was informed that services would be held on June 20, 2015. However, NGE services were neither scheduled nor held.
31. Upon information and belief, no services for NGE adherents have been held at Shawnee to date.
32. The actions of then-Chaplain Williams and Defendants Stettert [sic] and Dennison have precluded Bankston from freely exercising his religion.
36. Upon information and belief, the new kosher meal trays do not conform to Bankston's ...

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