Munt v. MN Department of Corrections et al
ORDER directing Defendants to file a supplemental affidavit within 10 days. See Order for details (Written Opinion). Signed by Judge Susan Richard Nelson on 03/06/17. (MJC) cc: Plaintiff. Modified on 3/6/2017 (lmb).
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF MINNESOTA
Joel Marvin Munt,
Civil No. 16-1206 (SRN/SER)
Minnesota Department of Corrections,
Tom Roy, Gloria H. Andreachi, Bruce
Julson, Steve Hammer, and Bruce Reiser,
Joel Marvin Munt, pro se, 236179, MCF–Stillwater, 970 Pickett St. N., Bayport, MN
Lindsay LaVoie, Minnesota Attorney General’s Office, 445 Minnesota St., Suite 900, St.
Paul, MN 55101, for Defendants
SUSAN RICHARD NELSON, United States District Judge
Pending before the Court are Plaintiff’s Objections to the January 27, 2017 Report and
Recommendation (“R&R”) of Magistrate Judge Steven E. Rau [Doc. No. 52]. In the R&R,
Magistrate Judge Rau recommended that Plaintiff Joel Marvin Munt’s First Motion for
Temporary Restraining Order (“Motion for TRO”) [Doc. No. 3] and First Motion for
Expedited Preliminary Relief (“Motion for Expedited Relief”) [Doc. No. 5] (collectively,
“Motions for Injunctive Relief”) be denied by this Court. Magistrate Judge Rau also
recommended that Plaintiff’s Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings [Doc. No. 38] be denied.
Plaintiff filed timely objections to the R & R, (Pl.’s Obj. [Doc. No 54]), to which Defendants
responded. (Def.’s Obj. Resp. [Doc. No. 58]).
Since filing his Objections, however, Munt filed two self-styled Supplements to
Plaintiff’s Objections (“Supplements”) that provide updated factual information, (see Pl.’s
Supp. to Obj. [Doc. No. 56]; Pl.’s Second Supp. to Obj. [Doc. No. 59]), and a Notice of
Supplemental Authority [Doc. No. 55]. The updated factual information in the Supplements
primarily relates to Plaintiff’s claims concerning the shower facilities at the Minnesota
Correctional Facility (“MCF”)-Stillwater.
Plaintiff’s claims are brought under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized
Persons Act of 2000 (“RLUIPA”), 42 U.S.C. § 2000cc-1(a), and article 1, section 16 of the
Minnesota Constitution. Under RLUIPA, after a prisoner shows that a prison policy
substantially burdens his free exercise of religion, the burden shifts to the prison to
demonstrate that its policy is the least restrictive means of furthering a compelling
governmental interest. See Holt v. Hobbs, 135 S. Ct. 853, 863 (2015). In his Complaint,
Munt contends that his “deeply held” Christian religious beliefs “include a prohibition
against indecent displays,” such as “exposure that results from changing clothes in a public
area, sharing a cell with someone, using the toilet in a public area, and showering in a public
area.” (Compl. at 4 [Doc. No. 1].)
At the time the parties submitted their materials before the magistrate judge,
Defendants also submitted the Affidavit of Defendant Gloria Andreachi [Doc. No. 27], a staff
member at MCF-Stillwater. Andreachi addressed, among other things, the then-current
shower facilities at MCF-Stillwater and Defendants’ reasons for why the particular shower
facilities, which permitted some exposure of the upper and lower body, were necessary to
further a compelling governmental interest. (See Andreachi Aff. ¶ 8.) She did not indicate,
however, whether the facilities constituted the least restrictive means by which the
government could further that compelling interest.
In any event, from Plaintiff’s description in his Supplements, it appears that
Defendants recently installed a shower curtain in one of the shower stalls in Plaintiff’s unit
and then cut away a portion of the bottom of the shower curtain. (Pl.’s Supp. to Obj. at 1.)
Two weeks later, in his Second Supplemental Objection, Plaintiff indicated that the shower
curtain had since been replaced with a curtain having a transparent upper portion. (Pl.’s
Second Supp. to Obj. at 2.) Plaintiff contends that this renders the shower interior visible
In light of Plaintiff’s recent information , and in order to obtain a complete record, the
Court directs Defendants to submit a supplemental affidavit addressing the new facts in
Plaintiff’s Supplements. The affidavit should also address whether the government has a
compelling state interest in the policies/facilities in question, and, if so, whether the least
restrictive means further that compelling state interest, with some explanation as to why that
is the case. See Holt v. Hobbs, 135 S. Ct. 853, 868-69 (2015) (stating that courts must not
“defer[ ] to . . . prison officials’ mere say-so that they could not accommodate petitioner’s
request,” and finding that prison officials failed to establish that their policy on beard length
was the least restrictive means necessary to further their compelling governmental interest
in security.); Murphy v. Missouri Dep’t of Corr., 272 F.3d 979, 989 (8th Cir. 2004) (“We do
not require evidence that racial violence has in fact occurred in the form of a riot, but we do
require some evidence that MDOC’s decision was the least restrictive means necessary to
preserve its security interest.”) Defendants’ supplemental affidavit is limited to these issues
and shall be filed within 10 days of the date of this Order. Following the Court’s review of
Defendants’ supplemental affidavit, the Court will issue its ruling on Plaintiff’s Objections
to the R&R.
THEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT:
Defendants shall provide a supplemental affidavit, as discussed herein, within
10 days of the date of this Order.
Dated: March 6, 2017
s/Susan Richard Nelson
SUSAN RICHARD NELSON
United States District Judge
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