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Fletcher v. Sgt. Bokinstrke

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Rock Hill Division

August 22, 2017

Henry Fletcher, Plaintiff,
v.
Sgt. Bokinstrke, Warden Dunlap, Lieutenant Salmon, Associate Warden Stonebreaker, Defendants.

          ORDER AND OPINION

          Margaret B. Seymour, Senior United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff Henry Fletcher (“Plaintiff”), proceeding pro se, brought the underlying action against Defendants Sgt. Bokinstrke, Warden Dunlap, Lieutenant Salmon, and Associate Warden Stonebreaker (“Defendants”), alleging civil rights violations pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (“RLUIPA”), 42 U.S.C. § 2000cc et seq. ECF No. 1. Subsequently, Defendants filed a motion to dismiss and motion for summary judgment on February 17, 2017, and June 2, 2017, respectively. ECF Nos. 22, 61. In accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and Local Rule 73.02, D.S.C., this matter was referred to United States Magistrate Judge Paige J. Gossett for pretrial handling. This matter is before the court on the Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation (“Report”) filed July 17, 2017. ECF No. 68.

         I. RELEVANT FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff is a Muslim state prisoner at Kershaw Correctional Institution in Kershaw, South Carolina. ECF No. 1. Plaintiff asserts that on June 19, 2016, the prison was locked down, and as a result, Muslim inmates were not served an evening meal until 11:00 pm without the opportunity to warm the food. Id. at 5. Plaintiff further claims that Defendants treated Muslim and Christian inmates differently because Muslims were not fed during appropriate hours during Ramadan while Christian inmates were always allowed to attend programs and worship services on time. Id. at 6.

         On July 5, 2016, Plaintiff filed an inmate grievance with the prison alerting authorities that he and his fellow Muslim inmates were not being fed at proper times during their observance of Ramadan. ECF No. 1-1 at 1. On July 14, 2016, the Warden replied that “the issue was addressed through security who were advised to feed the Muslim population within the guidelines of your religious Ramadan services. All unit Managers and Cafeteria Supervisor were notified to follow the guidelines that were implemented to adjust to Ramadan services.” Id. at 2. On July 25, 2016, Plaintiff filed a second inmate grievance raising the same claims raised in his first report. Id. at 3. On November 20, 2016, Plaintiff filed an additional grievance asserting that he was not allowed to attend Islamic Jum'ah while Christians were allowed to use the chapel. On October 27, 2016, Plaintiff filed the underlying complaint alleging that, during the month of Ramadan, he and other practicing Muslims were discriminated against. Id. at 4. Plaintiff requests relief in the amount of two hundred million dollars. Id.

         II. LEGAL STANDARDS

         A. Motion to Dismiss

         A Rule12 (b)(6) motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted tests the legal sufficiency of a complaint. Schatz v. Rosenberg, 943 F.2d 455, 489 (4th Cir. 1991). While the complaint need not be minutely detailed, it must provide enough factual details to put the opposing party on fair notice of the claim and the grounds upon which it rests. Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S 544, 555 (2007)(citing Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). In order to withstand a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain factual content that allows the court to reasonably infer that the defendant is liable for the alleged misconduct. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S 662, 678 (2009). The court must accept the allegations in the complaint as true, and all reasonable factual inferences must be drawn in favor of the party opposing the motion. Id. at 679. If the court determines that those factual allegations can “plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief, ” dismissal is not warranted. Id. To determine plausibility, courts are to “draw on its judicial experience and common sense.” Id. “But where the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged---but it has not ‘show[n]'---‘that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Id. (citing Fed. Rule Civ. P. 8(a)(2)).

         B. Motion for Summary Judgment

         Summary judgment should be granted “if the movant shows 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). A fact is “material” if proof of its existence or non-existence would affect the disposition of the case under the applicable law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248-49 (1986). A genuine question of material fact exists where, after reviewing the record as a whole, the court finds that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party. Newport News Holdings Corp. v. Virtual City Vision, 650 F.3d 423, 434 (4th Cir. 2011).

         C. Magistrate Judge Review

         The Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this court. The recommendation has no presumptive weight. The responsibility to make a final determination remains with this court. Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270-71 (1976). The court reviews de novo only those portions of a Magistrate Judge's report and recommendation to which specific objections are filed, and reviews those portions which are not objected to-including those portions to which only “general and conclusory” objections have been made-for clear error. Diamond v. Colonia Life & Acc. Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005); Camby v. Davis, 718 F.2d 198, 200 (4th Cir. 1983); Opriano v. Johnson, 687 F.2d 44, 47 (4th Cir. 1982). The court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the recommendation of the Magistrate Judge or recommit the matter with instructions. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).

         III. ANALYSIS

         A. Defendants' ...


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