United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Northern Division
ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR RELIEF FROM PRIOR
L. LUDINGTON United States District Judge
September 15, 2008, Plaintiff Ali Sareini filed a complaint
against Defendants, all affiliated with the Michigan
Department of Corrections, which alleged that Defendants had
discriminated against Sareini on religious grounds. ECF No.
1. Sareini is an inmate in the custody of the Michigan
Department of Corrections. In the complaint, Sareini alleged
claims under the First, Eight, and Fourteenth Amendments. On
December 30, 2008, Magistrate Judge Virginia M. Morgan issued
a report recommending that Sareini's complaint be
dismissed because he was seeking class certification but was
not capable of adequately representing the class. ECF No. 13.
The Court adopted the report and recommendation in part and
granted Sareini leave to file an amended complaint. ECF No.
32. On May 27, 2009, Sareini filed an amended complaint which
clarified that he was bringing claims under the Religious
Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), 42
U.S.C. § 2000cc et seq., the Equal Protection
Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, the First Amendment, and
the Eighth Amendment. ECF No. 33. Specifically, Sareini was
alleging that Defendants have violated his civil rights by
refusing to hold a separate group religious service for Shia
Muslim prisoners, denying Sareini meals which comply with his
religious dietary needs, refusing to allow Sareini to possess
certain items of religious significance, and denying Sareini
the opportunity to celebrate religious holidays.
subsequently filed a motion for summary judgment. ECF No. 41.
On December 21, 2009, Judge Morgan issued a report
recommending that the motion for summary judgment be granted
in part. ECF No. 43. Judge Morgan recommended that summary
judgment for Defendants be entered on Plaintiff's group
religious services and equal protection claims, but found
that factual questions remained surrounding Sareini's
request for meals which complied with his religious needs,
his religious property claim, and his religious holidays
claim. Because neither party objected to Judge Morgan's
report and recommendation, the Court adopted it without
independently reviewing the record. ECF No. 45.
December 23, 2010, Judge Morgan issued another report and
recommendation. Judge Morgan recommended that Sareini's
religious property claim should be dismissed because Sareini
had not provided non-conclusory evidence that items were
essential to the practice of his religion. However, Judge
Morgan recommended that Sareini's religious diet,
religious holiday, and equal protection claims not be
March 31, 2011, the Court issued an order adopting in part
Judge Morgan's report and recommendation. ECF No. 72.
Specifically, the Court adopted Judge Morgan's
recommendation that Sareini's religious property claim be
dismissed. The Court reasoned that Sareini has not
established that “he would be unable to adhere to his
faith or that his faith would be significantly inhibited
without these items.” Id. at 8. The Court
concluded: “The exercise of Plaintiff's religion
may be more difficult without the items, but he is not
compelled to act contrary to his religious beliefs.”
Id. The Court also dismissed Sareini's religious
holiday claim and equal protection claim. Although the Court
did not grant summary judgment on Sareini's religious
diet claim, Sareini later settled that claim. See
General Release from Liability, ECF No. 96, Ex. A; ECF No.
17, 2016, over three years after the parties submitted a
stipulated order dismissing the remaining claim and the case
with prejudice, Sareini filed a motion for relief from the
Court's previous orders dismissing his religious items
and holidays claims. For the following reasons, Sareini's
motion for relief will be denied.
is requesting relief from a final judgment under Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 60(b). That rule allows the Court to
“relieve a party or its legal representative from a
final judgment, order, or proceeding for the following
(1) mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect;
(2) newly discovered evidence that, with reasonable
diligence, could not have been discovered in time to move for
a new trial under Rule 59(b);
(3) fraud (whether previously called intrinsic or extrinsic),
misrepresentation, or misconduct by an opposing party;
(4) the judgment is void;
(5) the judgment has been satisfied, released or discharged;
it is based on an earlier judgment that has been reversed or
vacated; or applying it ...