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Orum v. Michigan Department of Corrections

United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Northern Division

April 8, 2019

JOHNNY D. ORUM #417988, Plaintiff,
v.
MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, et al., Defendants.

          Hon. Gordon J. Quist U.S. District Judge

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          MAARTEN VERMAAT, U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         On January 22, 2019, Plaintiff, Johnny D. Orum, filed a motion for a preliminary injunction. (ECF No. 159.) Defendants filed a response (ECF No. 161) and Plaintiff filed a declaration in support of his preliminary injunction motion. (ECF No. 164.) Plaintiff moves under Fed.R.Civ.P. 65 for a preliminary injunction directing Defendants to provide him meat with his Kosher Passover meals between April 19 and 28, 2019. Plaintiff is currently confined in the Carson City Correctional Facility.[1] This is Plaintiff's fourth motion requesting injunctive relief. The Court has denied the three prior motions.

         Procedural history

         On May 9, 2016, Plaintiff filed this complaint against Defendants Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC), MDOC Director Heidi Washington, MDOC Deputy Director Kenneth McKee, Special Activities Coordinator David Leach, Warden Jeffrey Woods, Chaplain David Rink, ARUS Arthur Derry, Prison Counselor Jennifer Metro, Classification Director T. Corey-Spiker, Corrections Officer Osborn, Corrections Officer Bergeron, Corrections Officer Perry, and Trinity Services Group Steward Sanderson. Plaintiff alleged that Defendants violated his rights under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 2000cc-1 (2003), and the First and Fourteenth Amendments. Plaintiff complained that the universal vegan religious meal implemented by the MDOC in July of 2013, denied him meat during religious holidays. Plaintiff alleged that he has filed many grievances regarding the denial of his request for religious meals and that Defendants have taken retaliatory actions against him. More Specifically, Plaintiff complained that Defendants Osborn and Bergeron retaliated against him for filing grievances by having Defendant Perry terminate Plaintiff from his job assignment.

         On October 28, 2016, this Court issued an opinion dismissing Plaintiff's claims against Defendants MDOC, Washington, McKee, Corey-Spiker, and Sanderson. The Court, however, allowed Plaintiff's First Amendment free exercise and retaliation claims, Fourteenth Amendment equal protection and due process claims, and RLUIPA claims to proceed against Defendants Leach, Woods, Rink, Derry, Metro, Osborn, and Bergeron relating to Plaintiff's right to a religious diet. In addition, the Court allowed Plaintiff to proceed on his retaliation claim that Defendants Osborn and Perry removed him from his prison job. (ECF Nos. 17, 18.)

         In February 2017, Plaintiff filed a motion for a preliminary injunction asking this Court to order Defendants to provide him with meat and fish with his Kosher meals. (ECF Nos. 35, 36.) The same month, Defendants filed a motion for partial summary judgment asserting that Defendant had not exhausted his administrative remedies against some of the Defendants. (ECF Nos. 39, 40.) On May 8, 2017, U.S. Magistrate Judge Timothy P. Greeley issued an R&R that addressed both of these motions. Judge Greeley recommended denial of both motions. (ECF No. 76.) This Court adopted the R&R on August 8, 2017. (ECF No. 100.)

         In April 2018, the Defendants filed another motion for summary judgment. (ECF Nos. 126, 127.) The next month, Plaintiff filed another motion for a preliminary injunction, again asking the Court to order the Defendants to provide him with Kosher meat meals. (ECF No. 133.) On December 11, 2018, Magistrate Judge Greeley issued an R&R that addressed these motions and several others. (ECF No. 155.) The R&R recommended dismissal of Plaintiff's due process claims, denial of the summary judgment motion on Plaintiff's RLUIPA, First Amendment, and Fourteenth Amendment claims and denial of Plaintiff's requests for a preliminary injunction.

         On March 12, 2019, this Court adopted in part and rejected in part the R&R. (ECF No. 168.) The Court dismissed Plaintiff's First Amendment free exercise and Fourteenth Amendment equal protection and due process claims. In addition, the Court dismissed Plaintiff's First Amendment retaliation claims against Defendants Leach, Woods, Rink, Derry, and Metro, and denied Plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction and motion for a TRO.

         Plaintiff's remaining claims are: (1) his RLUIPA claim against Defendants Leach, Woods, Rink, Derry, Metro, Osborn, and Bergeron, and (2) his First Amendment retaliation claim against Defendants Osborn, Bergeron, and Perry. (PageID.1230.)

         The undersigned recommends that the Court deny Plaintiff's request for a preliminary injunction because Plaintiff can celebrate Passover with religious meals at his prison, and he has failed to show a substantial likelihood of success on the merits of his RLUIPA claim.

         Facts

         As an inmate who practices the Jewish faith, Plaintiff believes that he must eat Kosher meat on religious holidays such as Passover. Plaintiff complains that Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) Policy Directive 05.03.150 (first effective July 26, 2013) changed the previous religious meal policy, which included Kosher meat products, to an all vegan universal religious meal. The newest policy makes religious meals available to more prisoners.

OO. The Department offers a vegan menu to meet the religious dietary needs of prisoners at the following facilities: Alger Correctional Facility, Baraga Correctional Facility, Carson City Correctional Facility, Central Michigan Correctional Facility, Chippewa Correctional Facility, Earnest C. Brooks Correctional Facility, Ionia Correctional Facility, Kinross Correctional Facility, Lakeland Correctional Facility, Macomb Correctional Facility, Muskegon Correctional Facility, Newberry Correctional Facility, Oaks Correctional Facility, Parnall Correctional Facility, St. Louis Correctional Facility, Women's Huron Valley Correctional Facility. The Vegan menu shall comply with Kosher and Halal religious tenets. A prisoner who believes the Vegan menu does not meet his/her religious dietary needs may request an alternative menu. An alternative menu will be developed and provided only with approval of the Deputy Director and only if it is determined that the Vegan menu does not meet the religious ...

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