Speed v. Neal et al
OPINION MEMORANDUM AND ORDERIT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Defendants Motion for Summary Judgment, [Doc. No. 29], is granted. A separate judgment in accordance with this Opinion, Memorandum and Order is entered this same date. 29 Signed by District Judge Henry Edward Autrey on 6/23/15. (CLA)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
ANTONIO NATHANIEL SPEED,
EUGENE NEAL, et al.,
Case No. 4:13CV2001 HEA
OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court on Defendants’ Motion for Summary
Judgment, [Doc. No. 29]. Plaintiff has not responded to the Motion. For the
reasons set forth below, the Motion is granted.
Facts and Background 1
Plaintiff filed a Prisoner Civil Rights Complaint Under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
on or about October 7, 2013 against: Ashley Goad, Eugene Neal, Correctional
Officer Williams. At the time of the Complaint, Plaintiff was an inmate at a jail
operated by the Jennings Department of Corrections. Defendants were
Defendant has filed a Statement of Uncontroverted Facts. Plaintiff, in contravention of
this Court=s Local Rule 7-4.01(E), failed to specifically controvert any of Defendant=s facts.
Likewise, Plaintiff failed to present his own Statement of Uncontroverted Facts. Consequently,
Defendant=s Statement of Uncontroverted Facts is taken as admitted by Plaintiff.
employees of the Jennings Department of Corrections.
Plaintiff is currently an inmate of the United States Bureau of Prisons m
Leavenworth, Kansas. Plaintiff is a practicing Muslim and member of the 978
ministries and 978 Coalition of America. As a practicing Muslim, Plaintiff has
dietary restrictions which prohibit him from eating pork.
Defendant Neal is a Lieutenant with supervisory capacity over the
Facility. Defendant Ashley Goad is a Correctional Officer with the Facility.
Meals for inmates are provided each day by an outside catering service,
SK Food Services. Once the meals are received from SK Food Services, a
trustee, who is a fellow inmate, is charged with delivering the trays of food to
each inmate in their cell. The trustee is charged with checking the meals to
insure there is a correct count for each dietary restriction.
On September 19, 2013, Plaintiff was the last inmate to receive his lunch
tray. When the trustee arrived at Plaintiff s cell there were no non-pork trays
remaining. Plaintiff refused to accept the pork tray that remained. The tray was
a styrofoam container. The remaining tray contained a sandwich, bag of chips,
cup of fruit, and cup of soup. The soup, chips, and fruit were individually
wrapped and never touched the pork on the sandwich.
Plaintiff contacted Defendant Goad and told her he needed a substitute
meal because there were no more non-pork trays. Defendant Goad consulted
with her supervisor, Lieutenant McCarthy, and advised Plaintiff he would need
to take the pork items off the tray and eat the remaining items. Defendant Goad
believed the items on the tray were individually wrapped so there was no crosscontamination with the pork on the sandwich.
Plaintiff refused to eat the non-pork items on the tray because he personally
believes that even if the other items are individually wrapped, the tray is closed in
and all items are contaminated with pork. Defendant Goad did not deliberately try
to feed Plaintiff pork as a Muslim; the Facility simply did not have enough nonpork trays. The denial of a non-pork meal occurred only on this one occasion for a
four hour period and Plaintiff received non-pork trays for e ve r y meal prior to a nd
after S e p t e m b e r 19, 2013. Plaintiff received non-pork meals for breakfast and
dinner on September 1 9 , 2013. The lack of a non-pork lunch tray on September
19, 2013 was unintentional and not motivated by religion.
Plaintiff filed a grievance with regard to the September 19, 2013 lunch tray
incident, but alleges he did not receive a response in order to appeal. A review of
the Facility's records reveals a response to Plaintiff s grievance was filed on
September 19, 2013. Plaintiff did not appeal Lieutenant Neal's response.
Plaintiff claims that during the month of Ramadan he was not permitted to
have an Islamic Predawn Meal. Plaintiff was admitted to the Facility on July 13,
2013, the second day of Ramadan. During his initial medical screening and
intake, Plaintiff specified he required a "non-pork" diet and there is no
reference to a request for Predawn Meals. Inmates are permitted to modify meal
services for medical or reasonable religious requirements during medical prescreening and through approval of Corrections Medical Staff or the Program
Manager, Defendant Neal. There is no documentation showing Plaintiff requested
revisions to his diet.
Plaintiff claims he spoke with Defendant Goad, and other officers, in
July 2013 regarding his need for Predawn Meals and Defendant Goad and the
other officers told him to talk to Defendant Neal.
Defendant Goads' alleged instructions to Plaintiff were consistent with
the Jennings Department of Corrections Inmate Handbook. Plaintiff alleges he
filed a grievance related to his lack of Predawn Meals, but stated "I don't
know what happened to it" and cannot produce a copy. There is no record of
Plaintiff filing a grievance related to Predawn Meals. Defendant Neal had
no knowledge of Plaintiff s desire for Predawn Meals prior to this lawsuit.
Plaintiff was permitted to keep the standard Facility breakfast, a Muffin, in
his cell overnight and any food he purchased in the commissary.
Plaintiff alleges the Facility "does not provide Holy Qur'an of Mecca or the
Moorish Science Temple, does not provide Muslims with an area to congregate for
worship and prayer, and there are no clocks which impedes Plaintiff s ability to do
daily prayers at the correct times." Plaintiff claims he filed a grievance regarding a
Quran, place to congregate, and clocks. A review of the Facility's records reveals
no documentation of Plaintiff s grievance regarding a Quran, place to congregate,
and clocks. Plaintiff is unable to produce documentation of his grievance.
Plaintiff was never denied the opportunity to have his own copy of the Quran
in the Facility. Plaintiff’s allegation is the Facility does not provide inmates with
institutional copies of the Quran or any religious materials.
Plaintiff alleges he requested inmates be able to congregate within their cells
for prayer and worship, but admits he has never requested any other room for
Muslim inmates specifically to congregate. Inmates are not permitted to congregate
in each other's cells due to safety concerns related to violence, contraband and
monitoring of inmates.
Plaintiff was never been told that he could not purchase a clock or bring an
approved clock into his cell. Plaintiff could have requested a clock through
commissary or received approval from Defendant Neal for certain types of clocks
which are deemed safe for inmate use.
Plaintiff has alleged damages of Thirty Million ($30,000,000.00) for the
mental, spiritual, and emotional distress. Plaintiff does not claim physical injuries.
The prison grievance process is documented in the Inmate Handbook and
Plaintiff was aware he had to file a grievance and appeal a response.
The Facility does not provide religious materials to any inmate regardless of
religion, and do not specifically limit the exclusion to Muslims. The Facility does
not allow any prisoners to congregate in their cells and do not specifically limit the
prohibition to Muslims.
Defendant Neal never spoke with anyone, including Plaintiff, about Plaintiff s
dietary requests. Plaintiff never filed a grievance regarding Defendant Neal's
training of correctional officers.
Plaintiff s Complaint only alleges he filed a single grievance which was with
regard to the September 19, 2013 lunch.
Summary Judgment Standard
Summary judgment is appropriate when there exists no genuine dispute as to
any material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). The moving
party has the burden to establish both the absence of a genuine dispute of material
fact and that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c);
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247 (1986). Once the moving party
has met this burden, the nonmoving party may not rest on the allegations in his
pleadings but by affidavit or other evidence must set forth specific facts showing
that a genuine issue of material fact exists. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e); Anderson, 477 U.S.
at 256, 106 S.Ct. 2505; Krenik v. Le Sueur, 47 F.3d 953, 957 (8th Cir. 1995).
“‘Only disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the
governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment.’ Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).” Hitt v. Harsco Corp., 356 F.3d
920, 923 (8th Cir. 2004). To survive a motion for summary judgment, the
“nonmoving party must ‘substantiate his allegations with sufficient probative
evidence [that] would permit a finding in [his] favor based on more than mere
speculation, conjecture, or fantasy.’ Wilson v. Int'l Bus. Machs. Corp., 62 F.3d 237,
241 (8th Cir. 1995) (quotation omitted).” Putman v. Unity Health System, 348 F.3d
732, 733-34 (8th Cir. 2003). “[A] complete failure of proof concerning an essential
element of the nonmoving party's case necessarily renders all other facts
immaterial.” Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323.
Plaintiff brought this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1983 against the
Defendants claiming Defendants interfered with his religious practices specific to
dietary restrictions and, with respect to Defendant Goad, that Goad failed to train
Under the Free Exercise Clause, Plaintiff must first raise a material question
of fact regarding whether Defendants have placed a “substantial burden” on his
ability to practice his religion. See Weir v. Nix, 114 F.3d 817, 820 (1997) (Free
Defendants argue they are entitled to qualified immunity.
“Qualified immunity shields government officials from civil damages
liability unless the official violated a statutory or constitutional right that was
clearly established at the time of the challenged conduct.” Reichle v.
Howards, 566 U.S. ––––, ––––, 132 S.Ct. 2088, 2093, 182 L.Ed.2d 985
(2012). “To be clearly established, a right must be sufficiently clear that
every reasonable official would have understood that what he is doing
violates that right.” Ibid. (brackets and internal quotation marks omitted).
“When properly applied, [qualified immunity] protects all but the plainly
incompetent or those who knowingly violate the law.” Ashcroft v. al–Kidd,
563 U.S. ––––, ––––, 131 S.Ct. 2074, 2085, 179 L.Ed.2d 1149 (2011)
(internal quotation marks omitted). “We do not require a case directly on
point, but existing precedent must have placed the statutory or constitutional
question beyond debate.” Id., at ––––, 131 S.Ct., at 2083.
Taylor v. Barkes, ___ U.S. ___, 135 S.Ct. 2042, 2044 (2015).
Qualified immunity protects a government official from liability “unless the
official's conduct violated a clearly established constitutional or statutory right of
which a reasonable person would have known.” Henderson v. Munn, 439 F.3d
497, 501 (8th Cir.2006) (citing Harlow v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800, 818 (1982)).
To determine whether an official is entitled to qualified immunity, the Court
asks the following two-part question: (1) whether the facts alleged, viewed in the
light most favorable to the plaintiff, show that the defendant violated a
constitutional or statutory right, and (2) whether the right at issue was clearly
established at the time of the offending conduct. Brown v. City of Golden Valley,
574 F.3d 491, 496 (8th Cir.2009) (citing Saucier v. Katz, 533 U.S. 194, 201
(2001)). The Court may decide which determination to make first, Pearson v.
Callahan, 555 U.S. 223, 235–36 (2009), and “the defendants are entitled to
qualified immunity unless the answer to both of these questions is yes.” McCaster
v. Clausen, 684 F.3d 740, 746 (8th Cir.2012).
“A right is clearly established when the contours of the right are sufficiently
clear that a reasonable official would understand that what he is doing violates that
right.” Mathers v. Wright, 636 F.3d 396, 399 (8th Cir.2011) (internal quotation
marks and citation omitted). “A general constitutional rule already identified in the
decisional law may apply with obvious clarity to the specific conduct in question,
even though the very action in question has not previously been held unlawful.”
Winslow v. Smith, 696 F.3d 716, 738 (8th Cir.2012) (internal quotation marks and
citation omitted). “The unlawfulness must merely be apparent in light of
preexisting law, and officials can still be on notice that their conduct violates
established law even in novel factual circumstances.” Nelson v. Correctional
Medical Services, 583 F .3d 522, 531 (8th Cir.2009) (internal quotation marks and
Defendant Goad contends that the allegations in Plaintiff’s Complaint are
insufficient to withstand summary judgment. Defendant correctly argues that
denial of a single lunch, the sole allegation against her, does not rise to a
constitutional violation. The Court agrees. See, Wilkens v. Roper, 843 F.Supp.
1327, 1328 (E.D. Mo. 1994); Thomas v. Northern, 574 F.Supp.2d 1029, 1034
(E.D. Mo. 2008).
Moreover, Defendant Neal is entitled to judgment on Plaintiff’s failure to
train claims. A claim under Section 1983 requires a plaintiff to plead and prove
that each defendant was personally involved in the alleged deprivation of a
constitutional right. Beck v. LaFleur, 257 F.3d 764, 765 (8th Cir.2001); Martin v.
Sergent, 780 F.2d 1334, 1337 (8th Cir.1985). The plaintiff “must allege facts
supporting any individual defendant's personal involvement in or responsibility for
the violations.” Ellis v. Norris, 179 F.3d 1078, 1078 (8th Cir.1999). The requisite
personal involvement cannot be based upon respondeat superior or vicarious
liability. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 670; Canton v. Harris, 489 U.S. 378, 385 (1989).
Allegations that the supervisor “knew of, condoned, and willfully and maliciously
agreed to subject” to, was the “principal architect” of the unconstitutional policy,
etc. alone are not sufficient to establish supervisory liability unless they are
affirmatively supported in the plaintiff's complaint. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 680–681.
“[A] supervising officer can be liable for an inferior officer's constitutional
violation only if he directly participated in the constitutional violation, or if his
failure to train or supervise the offending actor caused the deprivation[.]” Parrish
v. Ball, 594 F.3d 993, 1001 & n. 1, 1002 (8th Cir.2010) (internal quotations and
Plaintiff has failed to establish that he suffered a constitutional deprivation
through any failure on the part of Defendant Neal to train his inferior personnel.
Plaintiff testified that he was not denied the right to have his own Qur’an or a clock
for daily prayers, just that the facility did not provide these items. Plaintiff has
presented no authority that the facility must constitutionally provide religious
materials for each incarcerated person practicing any religion.
Likewise, Plaintiff never requested a place for Muslims to congregate in
general. Nor is there evidence that Defendant Neal knew of Plaintiff’s alleged
request of the correctional officers for predawn meals during Ramadan. The
officers advised Plaintiff that he would have to contact Neal for this request, which
advice is consistent with the Inmate Handbook. Plaintiff presents no evidence to
Plaintiff has failed to respond to Defendant’s Motion for Summary
Judgment with any evidence that the claims he presented in his Complaint entitle
him to the relief requested. Defendants are entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Defendants’ Motion for Summary
Judgment, [Doc. No. 29], is granted.
A separate judgment in accordance with this Opinion, Memorandum and
Order is entered this same date.
Dated this 24th day of June, 2015.
HENRY EDWARD AUTREY
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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