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Range v. Eagan

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

January 17, 2018

Duane Range, Plaintiff,
v.
Michael Eagan, et al., Defendants.

         ORDER ADOPTING IN PART REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION [20]; DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITHOUT PREJUDICE AS TO DEFENDANTS SARA FLESHER AND SHERRY UNDERWOOD; ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION [26]; AND GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS [9]

          Arthur J. Tarnow Senior United States District Judge

         On April 20, 2017, Plaintiff Duane Range, a Michigan state prisoner, through an attorney, filed a civil rights complaint [Dkt. 1] against two groups of defendants: 1) CPI, Inc., a private company, as well as CPI employees Scott Montgomery, Matthew Buryta, Greg Konopka, and Kyle Foley (“the CPI Defendants”); and 2) Michael Eagan, the Michigan Parole Board, Heidi Washington, the Michigan Department of Corrections, Sara Flesher, and Sherry Underwood (“the State Defendants”). He claims that Defendants violated his freedom of religion under the First Amendment.

         The Magistrate Judge has issued two Reports and Recommendations (“R&R”) in this case. The first, issued on November 15, 2017, recommended that the Court dismiss Plaintiff's complaint in part without prejudice for failure to timely effectuate service on the State Defendants [20]. Plaintiff filed an Objection [21] on November 29, 2017.

         The Magistrate Judge issued a second R&R [26] on December 6, 2017, recommending that the Court grant the CPI Defendants' Motion to Dismiss [9]. No objections were filed.

         For the reasons discussed below, the Court ADOPTS IN PART the November 15, 2017 R&R [20]. Plaintiff's Objection [21] is SUSTAINED IN PART and OVERRULED IN PART. The Court will also ADOPT the December 6, 2017 R&R [26]. The CPI Defendants' Motion to Dismiss [9] is GRANTED.

         Factual Background

         The Magistrate Judge summarized Plaintiff's factual allegations as follows:

Range is an inmate of the Michigan Department of Corrections (“MDOC”), and is currently housed at the G. Robert Cotton Correctional Facility in Jackson, Michigan. In his civil rights complaint, brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Range alleges that, while at the Detroit Reentry Center (“DRC”), as a condition of his parole, he was wrongfully forced by the Michigan Parole Board to participate in a religiously-based substance abuse program operated by CPI, a private company, and its employees, Scott Montgomery, John Buryta, Greg Konopka, and Kyle Foley. (Doc. #1 at ¶¶ 4-5).
More specifically, Range alleges that Montgomery, Buryta, and Konopka “demanded that [he] read, memorize and repeat religious doctrine that is contrary to [his] religious beliefs as a Jehovah's Witness.” (Id. at ¶ 5). According to Range, when he “stated his religious objections to the doctrines espoused” by the defendants, “he was told that his religious beliefs did not matter and that he had to abide by the requirements of the program ….” (Id. at ¶ 6). Indeed, Range alleges he was ordered to “adopt the religious position espoused by CPI, Inc. or be punished.” (Id.). Range further claims that Montgomery and Buryta wrongfully accused him of trying to stir up dissension among fellow parolees, and forced him to sign a document stating that he would memorize the “false religious statements” for repetition. (Id. at ¶ 7).
Range alleges that he verbally resigned from the program and subsequently presented a written letter of resignation. (Id. at ¶ 11). According to Range, the State Defendants found that his “objections to the program's religious indoctrination constituted misconduct, and ruled that the failure to complete the CPI program constituted a parole violation.” (Id. at ¶ 13). Range alleges that, as a result of the defendants' actions, he has “suffered various harms, including an unjustified finding of parole violation, 18 extra months of imprisonment, and unjustified infringement on his religious beliefs.” (Id. at ¶ 25). Range seeks millions of dollars in damages. (Id. at ¶ 26).

         (Dkt. 26 at 2-3).

         Legal Standard

         When reviewing a magistrate judge's report and recommendation, the Court makes “a de novo determination of those portions of the report or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C). Generalized objections to the R&R have “the same effect [ ] as would a failure to object.” Howard v. Sec'y of HHS, 932 F.2d 505, 508-09 (6th Cir. 1991); see also Cole v. Yukins, 7 F.Appx. 354, 356 (6th Cir. 2001) (“The filing of vague, ...


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