Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Holcomb v. Styrling

United States District Court, D. South Carolina

January 3, 2019

Dean A. Holcomb, #369696, Plaintiff,
v.
Bryan Styrling, Commissioner of the South Carolina Dept. of Corrections, Defendant.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          Shiva V. Hodges United States Magistrate Judge

         Dean A. Holcomb (“Plaintiff”) is an inmate incarcerated at Tyger River Correctional Institution (“TRCI”), a facility of the South Carolina Department of Corrections (“SCDC”). He filed this action in the Court of Common Pleas, Richland County, South Carolina, on April 3, 2018, against SCDC director Bryan Styrling (“Defendant”). [ECF No. 1-1]. On May 14, 2018, Defendant removed the case to this court. [ECF No. 1]. This matter is before the court on Defendant's motion for summary judgment. [ECF No. 22]. The motion having been fully briefed [ECF Nos. 28, 32], it is ripe for disposition.

         All pretrial proceedings in this case were referred to the undersigned pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Local Civ. Rule 73.02(B)(2)(e) (D.S.C.). Because the motion is dispositive, this report and recommendation is entered for review by the district judge. For the following reasons, the undersigned recommends Defendant's motion for summary judgment [ECF No. 22] be granted.

         I. Factual Background

         Plaintiff states he is a Jewish inmate and alleges SCDC denied his request for kosher meals and instead placed him on a vegetarian diet. [ECF No. 1 at 4-5]. Plaintiff contends SCDC's vegetarian menu imposes a substantial burden on his religious exercise. Id. at 5. Plaintiff seeks declaratory and injunctive relief. Id. at 6.

         II. Discussion

         A. Standard on Summary Judgment

         The court shall grant summary judgment “if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The movant bears the initial burden of demonstrating that summary judgment is appropriate; if the movant carries its burden, then the burden shifts to the non-movant to set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986). If a movant asserts that a fact cannot be disputed, it must support that assertion either by “citing to particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations (including those made for purposes of the motion only), admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials;” or “showing . . . that an adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1).

         In considering a motion for summary judgment, the evidence of the non-moving party is to be believed and all justifiable inferences must be drawn in favor of the non-moving party. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986). However, “[o]nly disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment. Factual disputes that are irrelevant or unnecessary will not be counted.” Id. at 248. Further, while the federal court is charged with liberally construing a complaint filed by a pro se litigant to allow the development of a potentially meritorious case, see, e.g., Cruz v. Beto, 405 U.S. 319 (1972), the requirement of liberal construction does not mean that the court can ignore a clear failure in the pleadings to allege facts that set forth a federal claim, nor can the court assume the existence of a genuine issue of material fact when none exists. Weller v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387 (4th Cir. 1990).

         B. Analysis

         Plaintiff asserts a claim pursuant to the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (“RLUIPA”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000cc, et seq. [ECF No. 1-1]. RLUIPA provides as follows:

No government shall impose a substantial burden on the religious exercise of a person residing in or confined to an institution, as defined in section 1997 of this title, even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, unless the government demonstrates that imposition of the burden on that person-
(1) is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and
(2) is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.