Sangraal v. Godinez et al
ORDER: Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 69 ) is GRANTED on Count 1 against Defendants Godinez, Brookhart, Kline and Flagg on the issue of liability, but DENIED with respect to compensatory and punitive damages; Plaintiff is awarde d nominal damages of $1.00 against Defendants Godinez, Brookhart, Kline and Flagg. Plaintiff's motion is DENIED on Count 1 as to Defendants Haverhals and Robert. Defendants' Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (Doc. 90 ) is GRANTED as to Counts 2 and 3. Defendants' Motion for Separate Trials (Doc. 193 ) is DENIED. Signed by Judge Staci M. Yandle on 3/13/2018. (njh)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
S. A. GODINEZ, et al.,
Case No. 3:14-CV-661 SMY/RJD
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
YANDLE, District Judge:
This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 69),
Defendants’ Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (Doc. 90), and Defendants’ Motion for
Separate Trials (Doc. 193). On June 9, 2014, Plaintiff commenced this action pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983, alleging several constitutional violations regarding his religious rights as a
Paganist (Doc. 1). He proceeds on the following claims:
Count 1: First Amendment claim against Defendants Godinez, Flagg, Brookhart,
Robert, Kline, and Haverhals for violating the Free Exercise, Free Speech, and
Establishment Clauses by banning the pentacle, limiting the use of tarot cards, requiring
additional screening of pagan literature, and subjecting Plaintiff to religious messages in
Count 2: Fourteenth Amendment claim against Defendants Godinez, Flagg, Brookhart,
Robert, Kline, and Haverhals for violating the Equal Protection Clause by banning the
pentacle, limiting the use of tarot cards, requiring additional screening of pagan literature,
and subjecting Plaintiff to religious messages in the chapel.
Count 3: Claim for injunctive relief under Religious Land Use and Institutionalized
Persons Act against Defendants Godinez and Flagg, in their official capacities, for
banning the pentacle, limiting the use of tarot cards, requiring additional screening of
pagan literature, and subjecting Plaintiff to religious messages in the chapel.
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Plaintiff moves for summary judgment on all claims (Doc. 69). Defendants move for
summary judgment on Counts 2 and 3, arguing that Plaintiff has not demonstrated an equal
protection claim, that Plaintiff’s request for injunctive relief is moot, and that Defendants are
entitled to qualified immunity (Doc. 90).
From March 21, 2013 to July 8, 2015, Sangraal was incarcerated by the Illinois
Department of Corrections (“IDOC”) at various facilities, including Stateville Correctional
Center, Robinson Correctional Center (“Robinson”), Centralia Correctional Center (“Centralia”),
and Pinckneyville Correctional Center. During the relevant period, Defendant Godinez was the
Director for the Department of Corrections; Defendant Brookhart was the Assistant Warden at
Robinson; Defendant Flagg was the Warden and Assistant Warden at Centralia; Defendant
Robert was the Warden at Centralia; and Defendants Kline and Haverhals were chaplains at
Sangraal is a member of the Pagan religion, which consists of a belief in multiple deities,
magic, and divination (Plaintiff’s Deposition, Doc. 91-1 at 32). Other aspects of the Pagan
religion observed by Sangraal include wearing a pentacle, which is a circle circumscribing an
interwoven star with five points, and use of divination tools, such as tarot cards and runes (Id. at
Religious items are generally permitted by IDOC policy (Doc. 71 at 20). In 2012,
Defendant Godinez issued a memorandum regarding inmate possession of items with stars
consisting of five and six points (“the Memorandum”), which states as follows:
The purpose of this memorandum is to clarify previous direction regarding the
possession of items with 5 and 6 point stars by offenders.
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The 5 point star is one of the symbols of the People Nation, a well-known
Chicago based group of street gangs, and the 6 point star is one of the symbols of
the Folk Nation, another well-known Chicago based group of street gangs. These
star symbols are used as gang identifiers and are frequently used to mark gang
territory or as an assertion of power. Many offenders incarcerated in IDOC
facilities are members of these particular gangs/security threat groups.
A religious item which is not star-shaped, but has a 5 or 6 point star or stars on it
as part of a larger composition, such as a medallion with a crescent moon and a
small star in its curve or a medallion of a saint with a halo of stars is still
permissible. Any written material with a 5 or 6 point star should be reviewed in
accordance with Department Rule 525C, like any other publication.
(Id. at 14). On October 8, 2013, IDOC’s Chief Chaplain sent an email directing chaplains to
deny requests by Pagan inmates for pentacles based on the Memorandum and further advised
chaplains to recommend various other Pagan symbols (Doc. 71-1 at 29).
During his deposition, Sangraal testified that, while at Centralia, he requested a pentacle
from Defendant Kline, who showed Sangraal the Memorandum and denied the request (Doc. 911 at 43-44).
Consistent with the Chief Chaplain’s email, Kline recommended alternative
symbols to Sangraal (Id. at 99).
Sangraal also requested a pentacle from Defendants Haverhals and Flagg (Id. at 45-47).
Haverhals told Sangraal that the pentacle did not qualify as a larger composition as contemplated
by the Memorandum (Id. at 105-107). Flagg did not respond to Sangraal’s written requests (Id.
at 51). Flagg also approved the denial of Sangraal’s grievances related to the pentacle (Doc. 712 at 9-11). Sangraal sent Defendant Robert an emergency grievance regarding the pentacle but
did not receive a response (Doc. 70 at 4; 71-2 at 6-7).
Sangraal was also not allowed to possess individual tarot cards during his incarceration
(Doc. 91-1 at 58). He was permitted to receive and possess photocopies of tarot cards with
several tarot cards on a single page, but the photocopies did not satisfy his religious needs
because they did not allow him to engage in divination (Id. at 59-60). Brookhart (Robinson) and
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Flagg (Centralia) each prevented Sangraal from receiving a shipment of tarot cards (Id. at 61-64).
According to Sangraal’s Verified Complaint, Kline and Haverhals also denied his requests for
tarot cards (Doc. 1 at 17, 21-22). Kline showed Sangraal a policy that banned tarot cards due to
their use as a fortune-telling device (Doc. 71-2 at 8-9). On September 26, 2013, a correctional
counselor informed Sangraal that he could not have tarot cards due to department policy and
security concerns (Id.). Sangraal sent Defendant Robert an emergency grievance regarding the
tarot cards but did not receive a response (Doc. 70 at 4; 71-2 at 8-11).
According to IDOC policy, each facility is to establish an institutional publication review
committee to review publications that “may pose detrimental [sic] to security, good order,
rehabilitation, or discipline or if it might facilitate criminal activity, or be detrimental to mental
health needs of an offender as determined by a mental health professional” (Doc. 71 at 21).
Sangraal testified that one of his books was sent to the publications review committee (Doc. 91-1
at 68). When he asked a correctional officer for an explanation, the officer responded that the
book was sent to review because it was a witchcraft book (Id. at 68-69). Sangraal received the
book after a delay of a week or less (Id. at 71). To Sangraal’s knowledge, only one of the books
he received was sent for publications review, and he was never denied any books that he
requested (Id. at 70, 72-73). Sangraal submitted a grievance to complain that he did not receive a
written explanation of why the book was submitted for review and Flagg denied the grievance
(Id. at 74; Doc. 71-1 at 1).
While at Centralia, Sangraal was subjected to overt Christian messages in the chapel
(Doc. 91-1 at 75-76). Specifically, a large, prominently displayed sign in the chapel read,
“REPENT AND BE BAPTIZED” (Id.). Sangraal went to the chapel on six occasions, which
included orientation and religious meetings arranged by Defendant Haverhals (Id. at 66-67).
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Sangraal felt pressure to convert to Christianity due to the presence of the sign (Id. at 77). He
submitted an emergency grievance to Defendant Robert regarding the sign (Doc. 70 at 3; Doc.
71-1 at 7).
On August 18, 2015, Magistrate Judge Philip M. Frazier entered an Order finding that
Defendants Godinez, Brookhart, Kline and Flagg had admitted each of Plaintiff’s two hundred
twenty-eight requests for admissions pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 36(a)(3) (Doc. 62). “A matter
admitted under [Rule 36] is conclusively established.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 36(b). “Admissions made
under Rule 36, even default admissions, can serve as the factual predicate for summary
judgment.” United States v. Kasuboski, 834 F.2d 1345, 1350 (7th Cir. 1987); Fed. R. Civ. P.
However, admissions are limited to “facts, the application of law to fact, or
opinions about either.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 36(a)(1).
According to the Order, Defendants Godinez 1, Brookhart, Kline and Flagg have admitted
to the following: Pentacles are recognizable symbols and not readily confused with other fivepointed stars (Doc. 71 at 4); security threat groups are known to use religious symbols that are
permitted (Id. at 6); Defendants are not aware of the significance or symbolism of the pentacle to
Paganism, and there is no adequate substitute for the pentacle (Id. at 5, 8); Sangraal is sincere in
his desire to wear a pentacle for religious purposes and disallowing a sincere adherent from
wearing his religious symbol places a significant burden on that person’s Free Speech and
religious Free Exercise (Id. at 4); banning pentacle medallions in the IDOC does not rationally
relate to any legitimate security or penological interest (Id. at 5); christian inmates are allowed to
possess prayer cards without prior approval or restrictions (Id. at 9); non-pagan inmates are
Defendant Baldwin has been automatically substituted for Defendant Godinez regarding the claims against him in
his official capacity.
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allowed to use playing cards and religious practices, including testimony and references to
religious texts, to engage in fortune telling and manipulation of other inmates (Id. at 10-11);
Defendants have a limited understanding of the manner in which Pagans use tarot cards (Id. at
10); disallowing a Pagan from using tarot cards for divination places a significant burden on that
person’s religious Free Exercise; allowing inmates to use tarot cards alone in a cell or in the
chapel with other inmates under supervision would alleviate any security threat (Id.); Sangraal
met with Defendants Haverhals and Kline in the chapel (Id. at 13); the other defendants have
also been to the chapel and have seen the sign (Id.); and the chapel sign could have been moved
or covered (Id.).
Plaintiff moves for summary judgment on all claims. Defendants move for summary
judgment on Counts 2 and 3, arguing that Plaintiff has not demonstrated an equal protection
claim, that Plaintiff’s request for injunctive relief is moot, and that Defendants are entitled to
qualified immunity. 2
Summary judgment is appropriate only if the moving party can demonstrate “that there is
no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law.” FED. R. CIV. P. 56(a); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322(1986); see also RuffinThompkins v. Experian Information Solutions, Inc., 422 F.3d 603, 607 (7th Cir. 2005). The
moving party bears the initial burden of demonstrating the lack of any genuine issue of material
fact. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323. Once a properly supported motion for summary judgment is
made, the adverse party “must set forth specific facts showing there is a genuine issue for trial.”
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986). A genuine issue of material fact
More specifically, Defendants assert qualified immunity with respect to Counts 2 and 3. Because the Court
disposes of Counts 2 and 3 on other grounds, the Court need not consider the qualified immunity defense.
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exists when “the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving
party.” Estate of Simpson v. Gorbett, 863 F.3d 740, 745 (7th Cir. 2017) (quoting Anderson, 477
U.S. at 248). In deciding a summary judgment motion, the Court views the facts in the light
most favorable to, and draws all reasonable inferences in favor of, the nonmoving party. Apex
Digital, Inc. v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 735 F.3d 962, 965 (7th Cir. 2013) (citation omitted).
Count 1 – First Amendment Claim – Godinez, Brookhart, Kline and Flagg
Sangraal alleges that these defendants violated his right to free speech and free exercise
under the First Amendment by banning the pentacle, limiting the use of tarot cards, and
subjecting him to religious messages in the chapel. “[A] prison inmate retains those First
Amendment rights that are not inconsistent with his status as a prisoner or with the legitimate
penological objectives of the corrections system.” Pell v. Procunier, 417 U.S. 817, 822 (1974).
“[W]hen a prison regulation impinges on inmates’ constitutional rights, the regulation is valid if
it is reasonably related to legitimate penological interests.” Turner v. Safley, 482 U.S. 78, 89
Whether a governmental act is constitutional is generally a question of law to be decided
by the Court. See e.g., Volkman v. Ryker, 736 F.3d 1084, 1089 (7th Cir. 2013) (“whether the
employee’s speech was constitutionally protected—is a question of law to be decided by the
The Seventh Circuit applies “the Turner legitimate penological interests test to
determine whether [prisoners have] engaged in protected speech.” Bridges v. Gilbert, 557 F.3d
541, 551 (7th Cir. 2009). “Several factors are relevant in reaching a determination, such as
whether there is a connection between the regulation and a valid and neutral government interest;
whether there are alternative means of exercising the constitutional right; and the impact that
accommodation of the asserted right will have on guards, inmates, and the allocation of prison
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resources.” Id. at 548. “[T]he protections of the Free Exercise Clause pertain if the law at issue
discriminates against some or all religious beliefs or regulates or prohibits conduct because it is
undertaken for religious reasons.” Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye, Inc. v. City of Hialeah,
508 U.S. 520, 532, (1993). The Turner test also applies to the right to free exercise. Kaufman v.
McCaughtry, 419 F.3d 678, 682 (7th Cir. 2005). Plaintiff must establish that the government
imposed a substantial burden on Plaintiff’s ability to practice his religion. Id. The Court then
considers whether “legitimate penological interests outweigh the prisoner’s religious interests.”
Sangraal argues that Defendants’ admissions establish that prohibiting him from wearing
a pentacle and possessing tarot cards is a substantial burden on his ability to exercise his religion.
However, admissions made under Rule 36 are limited to facts. Whether a burden is substantial is
a question of law and cannot be deemed admitted. Similarly, Defendants are deemed to have
admitted that banning pentacle medallions in IDOC does not rationally relate to any legitimate
security or penological interest. But rationality is also a question of law, not a fact that can be
Regarding the tarot cards, the admissions state that allowing inmates photocopies of tarot
cards with several tarot cards on a single page does not allow Sangraal to engage in divination
and places a substantial burden on religious free exercise. The admissions further concede that
allowing inmates to use tarot cards either alone in a cell or in the chapel with others under
supervision would not significantly burden correctional resources. Again, whether the burden is
significant is a question of law.
That said, the admitted facts alone regarding the banning of the pentacle, limiting the use
of tarot cards, and subjecting Sangraal to religious messages in the chapel, properly support
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Sangraal’s motion for summary judgment, regardless of the conclusions of law that were also
included. Defendants do not proffer any specific facts raising a genuine issue for trial with
respect to Sangraal’s free speech and free exercise claims against Defendants Godinez,
Brookhart, Kline and Flagg. As such, the Court finds as a matter of law that the regulations
impinge on Sangraal’s constitutional rights and are not reasonably related to legitimate
Sangraal also asserts that Defendants’ conduct violated the Establishment Clause. “The
Establishment Clause guarantees that the government may not coerce anyone to support or
participate in religion or its exercise, or otherwise act in a way which establishes a state religion
or religious faith, or tends to do so.” Kerr v. Farrey, 95 F.3d 472, 476 (7th Cir. 1996). “The
Establishment Clause also prohibits the government from favoring one religion over another
without a legitimate secular reason.” Kaufman v. McCaughtry, 419 F.3d 678, 683 (7th Cir.
2005) (Kaufman I). The Seventh Circuit has addressed Establishment Clause protections in the
prison context on numerous occasions.
In Kaufman I, the Seventh Circuit held that prohibiting a group of atheists from meeting
while allowing groups of other religious adherents violated the Establishment Clause. Id. at 684.
The Court noted that the Department of Corrections failed to articulate “a secular reason why a
meeting of atheist inmates would pose a greater security risk than meetings of inmates of other
faiths.” Id. Conversely, In Henderson v. Frank, 190 F. App’x 507 (7th Cir. 2006), the Seventh
Circuit found that providing a television channel devoted exclusively to Christian programming,
but not providing similar channels for other religions did not violate the Establishment Clause.
The Court reasoned that prisons were not required to provide identical worship opportunities for
every religious group, but instead were required “only to afford all prisoners reasonable
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opportunities to exercise their religious freedom.” Id. at 509. The Court also noted that that the
prison did nothing to encourage watching the channel and that prisoners were permitted to
change the channel or not watch television. Id.
In Kaufman v. Pugh, 733 F.3d 692 (7th Cir. 2013) (Kaufman II), an inmate requested
permission to wear an atheist religious symbol created by the inmate – a sterling silver ring
engraved with the word “knowledge” – but the prison denied the request. IDOC cited security
concerns due to gang symbols. Id. at 699. The Seventh Circuit held that the denial did not
violate the Establishment Clause because prisons are permitted to draw a line between symbols
that are commonly used by a religious group and are easy to recognize and symbols that are only
used by a single prisoner. Id.
In this case, with respect to Sangraal’s pentacle, the admissions establish that other
religious groups are permitted to wear religious symbols, including the Star of David, crosses,
rosaries, and prayer beads. The admissions also establish that at least some of these symbols are
also used by gangs and other groups that would present a security concern. Regarding the tarot
cards, the record suggests that Defendants prevented Sangraal from possessing tarot cards based
on the security risk posed by fortune-telling and the potential for manipulation of other inmates.
The question of whether the government favored one religion over another without a legitimate
secular reason is an issue of law to be decided by the Court.
Once again, the Court concludes that the admitted facts support summary judgment on
this issue. Defendants have not set forth any facts that create a genuine issue for trial regarding
Plaintiff’s Establishment Clause claims against Defendants Godinez, Brookhart, Kline and
Flagg. The undisputed facts indicate that defendants favored one religion over another without a
legitimate secular reason.
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Defendants essentially concede that the above-referenced admissions entitle Plaintiff to
Summary Judgment on his First Amendment claim against Defendants Godinez, Brookhart,
Kline and Flagg, but argue that Plaintiff’s damages for this claim are limited to $1. Defendants
Plaintiff asserts that he is entitled to compensatory damages and nominal damages. But
“no compensatory damages may be awarded in a § 1983 suit absent proof of actual injury.”
Farrar v. Hobby, 506 U.S. 103, 112, 113 S. Ct. 566, 573, 121 L. Ed. 2d 494 (1992). For a
constitutional violation without proof of actual injury, a plaintiff may recover nominal damages –
typically, an award of one dollar to emphasize that the state’s scrupulous observance of
constitutional rights is imperative. Id.; Moore v. Liszewski, 838 F.3d 877, 878 (7th Cir. 2016).
In fact, courts are obligated to award nominal damages when a plaintiff proves a constitutional
violation but cannot prove compensatory damages. Farrar v. Hobby, 506 U.S. 103, 112 (1992);
Calhoun v. DeTella, 319 F.3d 936, 942 (7th Cir. 2003).
Here, there is no evidence that Sangraal suffered an actual injury as a result of the
violation of his First Amendment rights. Thus, as a matter of law, he is entitled to recover
nominal damages, but no compensatory damages. 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(e).
Sangraal also seeks punitive damages. However, based on the evidence in the record, he
has not satisfied the threshold showing necessary for an award of punitive damages. Punitive
damages are designed to punish and deter wrongdoing and “may be awarded under § 1983 upon
a showing of evil motive or intent, or reckless or callous indifference to the federally protected
rights of others.” Calhoun, 319 F.3d at 942. Although the PLRA allows plaintiffs to recover
punitive damages, the record contains no facts that would suggest religious animus motivated
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Defendants or that Defendants acted with the knowledge or intent to violate Sangraal’s
Defendant Godinez’s policy prohibiting star medallions does not expressly target
pentacles; rather, it specifically articulates an exception for certain religious items. Defendants
attempted to accommodate Sangraal by allowing him to possess copies of tarot cards. Likewise,
Defendant Kline attempted to provide a religious accommodation by informing inmates of other
approved religious items. While Sangraal complains that he observed the chapel sign when
Defendant Haverhals accommodated his religious needs by facilitating meetings for paganist
inmates, no evidence suggests that Sangraal notified Kline or Haverhals that he took offense to
the chapel sign. In sum, the record reflects that Defendants may have fallen short in their
attempts to accommodate Sangraal’s religious beliefs, but it does not suggest that they
intentionally or recklessly disregarded his constitutional rights. Therefore, no reasonable jury
could impose punitive damages. See Juarez v. Menard, Inc., 366 F.3d 479, 482 (7th Cir. 2004)
(affirming the denial of punitive damages at the summary judgment stage).
Because as a matter of law, Sangraal is not entitled to seek compensatory damages, and
no reasonable jury could impose punitive damages, Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgment as
to Count 1 is GRANTED against Defendants Godinez, Brookhart, Kline and Flagg, and Plaintiff
is AWARDED nominal damages of $1.00 against these defendants.
Count 1 – First Amendment Claim – Robert and Haverals
Plaintiff’s Requests for Admissions were sent to the Attorney General’s Office on April
8, 2015 and directed to “the defendants.” At the time of service, the Attorney General’s Office
represented Defendants Godinez (in his individual and official capacity), Flagg, Brookhart, and
Kline. An appearance was filed for Defendant Robert on April 24, 2015 (Doc. 49). The
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Attorney General’s Office appeared for Defendant Haverhals on November 12, 2015 (Doc. 75).
Therefore, Sangraal served his Requests for Admissions only on Defendants Godinez 3, Flagg,
Brookhart, and Kline.
Because Sangraal supported his motion for summary judgment by
referencing admissions that do not apply to these two defendants, genuine issues of material facts
exist as to all of the elements of Plaintiff’s First Amendment claims against them. Accordingly,
Plaintiff’s motion is DENIED with respect to Defendants Robert and Haverhals.
Count 2 – Equal Protection Clause
In Count 2, Sangraal alleges that Defendants Godinez, Flagg, Brookhart, Robert, Kline,
and Haverhals violated the Equal Protection Clause by banning the pentacle, limiting his use of
tarot cards, and subjecting him to religious messages in the chapel. However, plaintiffs may not
recast claims of religious discrimination under the Equal Protection Clause – the First
Amendment governs such claims. McClain v. Rogers, 155 F. App’x 918, 920 (7th Cir. 2005);
Conyers v. Abitz, 416 F.3d 580, 586 (7th Cir. 2005). Therefore, the Court disregards the
religious components of Plaintiff’s Equal Protection claim. See Reed v. Faulkner, 842 F.2d 960,
962 (7th Cir. 1988).
Because Plaintiff’s claim does not relate to his membership in any other protected class,
rational basis review applies. See Flynn v. Thatcher, 819 F.3d 990, 991 (7th Cir. 2016). “Prison
classifications are presumed to be rational and will be upheld if any justification for them can be
conceived.” Id. To uphold governmental conduct under rational basis review, the Court “need
only find a reasonably conceivable state of facts that could provide a rational basis for the
classification. Indiana Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Ass’n v. Cook, 808 F.3d 318,
322 (7th Cir. 2015).
Defendant Baldwin has been automatically substituted for Defendant Godinez regarding the claims against him in
his official capacity.
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Sangraal’s claim fails because he identifies no classification other than religious groups
and he fails to identify any similarly situated individual that was treated differently. Nothing in
the record suggests that any exceptions were made for inmates with regard to the pentacle ban,
limitations on tarot card use, or religious messages in the chapel. Therefore, with respect to
Plaintiff’s Equal Protection Clause claim, Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgment is DENIED
and Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED.
Count 3 – Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act
Sangraal seeks an injunction against banning the pentacle, limiting the use of tarot cards,
requiring additional screening of pagan literature, and subjecting Sangraal to religious messages
in the chapel, under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (“RLUIPA”).
Defendants argue that Sangraal’s request for injunctive relief is moot because he is no longer
incarcerated by the Department of Corrections and no other type of relief is available under the
RLUIPA. Sangraal maintains that his request is not moot because he intends to send tarot cards,
pentacles, and religious publications to inmates that observe the Pagan religion and to conduct
religious services at the Centralia chapel.
The First Amendment encompasses the right of unincarcerated individuals to
communicate with inmates. See Thornburgh v. Abbott, 490 U.S. 401, 408 (1989). However,
Sangraal has not amended his Complaint to allege that his right to communicate with inmates has
been violated, and the Court’s consideration is limited to the claims asserted in the Complaint.
(See Doc. 1.)
Moreover, “[i]f a prisoner is transferred to another prison, his request for injunctive relief
against officials of the first prison is moot unless he can demonstrate that he is likely to be
retransferred.” Higgason v. Farley, 83 F.3d 807, 811 (7th Cir. 1996). “Allegations of a likely
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retransfer may not be based on mere speculation.” Id. “The capable-of-repetition doctrine
applies only in exceptional situations, and generally only where the named plaintiff can make a
reasonable showing that he will again be subject to the alleged illegality.” Id. The issue of
mootness in prisoner cases is discussed more frequently in the context of transfers between
correctional facilities, but the reasoning applies with equal force in the context of release from
custody. As Sangraal offers no evidence to suggest that he is likely to return to the custody of
the Department of Corrections, his request for injunctive relief is indeed MOOT. Because no
other relief is available under RLUIPA, Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgment as to Count 3
is DENIED and Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED as to this Count.
Motion for Separate Trials
Only claims against Defendants Haverhals and Robert remain. As such, Defendants’
motion for separate trials (Doc. 193) is DENIED as MOOT.
Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 69) is GRANTED on Count 1 against
Defendants Godinez, Brookhart, Kline and Flagg on the issue of liability, but DENIED with
respect to compensatory and punitive damages; Plaintiff is awarded nominal damages of $1.00
against Defendants Godinez, Brookhart, Kline and Flagg. Plaintiff’s motion is DENIED on
Count 1 as to Defendants Haverhals and Robert.
Defendants’ Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (Doc. 90) is GRANTED as to
Counts 2 and 3. Defendants’ Motion for Separate Trials (Doc. 193) is DENIED.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
DATED: March 13, 2018
s/ Staci M. Yandle
STACI M. YANDLE
United States District Judge
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