Dowdy et al v. Caruso, et al
ORDER DENYING FREDERICK ROBINSON'S MOTION TO ENFORCE SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT re 234 Signed by District Judge Avern Cohn. (MVer)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
ERIC DOWDY-EL, et al.,
Case Number: 06-11765
HON. AVERN COHN
PATRICIA L. CARUSO, et al.,
ORDER DENYING FREDERICK ROBINSON’S MOTION TO ENFORCE
SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT (Doc. 234)
Plaintiffs, Muslim inmates housed by the Michigan Department of Corrections
(“MDOC”), sued challenging the defendant prison officials’ alleged failure to
accommodate their requests to observe three distinct Islamic religious practices:
(1) attending Jum’ah prayer services;
(2) receiving a halal diet; and
(3) participating in the Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Adha Feasts (the “Eid feasts”)
The Court approved a settlement agreement between the parties that, among other
things, required the MDOC to provide a halal meal. (Doc. 129). The Court also entered
a separate judgment that allows plaintiffs to participate in the Eid feasts. (Doc. 85). The
order approving the settlement (Settlement Order), states that “[t]his Court shall retain
jurisdiction over this matter for the purpose of enabling . . . any class member to apply
to this Court for the enforcement of any provision or the punishment of any violation of
this Order . . .” (Doc. 129). Thus, the Court retained jurisdiction to allow a class
member to enforce any provision of the settlement agreement and allow for punishment
if the MDOC is violating any provision.
Before the Court is Frederick Robinson’s, an apparent class member, Motion to
Enforce Settlement. (Doc. 234). Robinson asks that the Court hold the MDOC in
contempt for denying his request to provide him with a halal meal. For the reasons that
follow, the motion is DENIED.
Regarding Frederick’s motion, the Settlement Order provides in relevant part:
2. Defendants shall provide a religious meal that comports with halal
tenets and satisfies basic nutritional requirements applicable to all prisoners.
Defendants have adopted PD 05.03.150 (eff. 7/26/13) and OP5.03.150A. (eff.
7/30/13) addressing the provision of religious meals to prisoners and setting forth
provisions for the preparation and service of said meals in conformity with Islamic
religious requirements. The parties and the Court understand the language
contained in PD 05.03.150 ¶PP (“The … menu shall comply with … Halal
religious tenets.”) to include not only the food items but also the manner of
preparation and service. Defendants are not bound to serve any specific religious
meal/menu but will provide religious meals that comport with prisoners’ religious
tenets and nutritional needs.
The Settlement Order requires that the MDOC provide a halal meal. The MDOC does. It
is a vegan meal. The Settlement Order does not require that any and all inmates
seeking to be given a halal meal must be provided with such a halal meal. Rather, the
MDOC has a procedure for approving such requests. Apparently Frederick followed
that procedure but was denied the his request for a halal meal.
As noted in the MDOC’s response (Doc. 239), Frederick seeks relief that is
beyond the scope of the Settlement Order. If Frederick believes he is entitled to a halal
meal, he should first exhaust the grievance process and then file his own lawsuit. Relief
on an individualized basis is not within the confines of this case.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Dated: December 7, 2017
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