United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Northern Division
ASHETON S. MORGAN, Plaintiff,
TONY TRIERWEILER et al., Defendants.
L. Maloney, United States District Judge.
a civil rights action brought by a state prisoner under 42
U.S.C. § 1983. Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act,
Pub. L. No. 104-134, 110 Stat. 1321 (1996) (PLRA), the Court
is required to dismiss any prisoner action brought under
federal law if the complaint is frivolous, malicious, fails
to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, or seeks
monetary relief from a defendant immune from such relief. 28
U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2), 1915A; 42 U.S.C. §
1997e(c). The Court must read Plaintiff's pro se
complaint indulgently, see Haines v. Kerner, 404
U.S. 519, 520 (1972), and accept Plaintiff's allegations
as true, unless they are clearly irrational or wholly
incredible. Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 33
(1992). Applying these standards, the Court will dismiss
Plaintiff's complaint for failure to state a claim
against Defendants Bauman, Naeyart, Immel, Rapelje, McGee,
Washington, Curly, and Lindholm.
is presently incarcerated with the Michigan Department of
Corrections (MDOC) at the Carson City Correctional Facility
(DRF) in Carson City, Montcalm County, Michigan. The events
about which he complains, however, occurred at the Bellamy
Creek Correctional Facility (IBC) in Ionia, Ionia County,
Michigan, and the Alger Correctional Facility (LMF) in
Munising, Alger County, Michigan.
sues Defendants IBC Warden Tony Trierweiler, LMF Warden
Catherine S. Bauman, IBC Deputy Warden John Davids, LMF
Resident Unit Manager Joseph Naeyart, IBC Prison Counselor
Jared Buchin, and LMF Deputy Warden Anthony Immel. Plaintiff
also sues MDOC Assistant Deputy Director Lloyd Rapelje, MDOC
Deputy Director Kenneth McGee, MDOC Director Heidi E.
Washington, MDOC Assistant Deputy Director Michael Curly, and
LMF Chaplain Unknown Lindholm.
alleges that on September 13, 2016, he arrived at IBC, where
he informed Defendants Davids, Buchin, and Trierweiler, as
well as other prison officials, that because of the
unavailability of an Islamic Halal diet at IBC, he was being
forced to eat foods which violated his Islamic beliefs.
Plaintiff was told that due to his classification to
segregation, he would not be receiving a Halal meal.
Plaintiff was also told that due to his behavior and
classification, he would not be transferred to a facility
which could accommodate his religious dietary needs.
Plaintiff filed a grievance regarding his diet on September
18, 2016, which was denied at step I on September 30, 2016.
In the step I grievance response, a prison official named
Chaplain Thompson was contacted regarding Mr. Morgan's
grievance. Chaplain Thompson confirms that prisoner Morgan is
approved for a religious diet. PD 05.03.150 states that all
recognized religions enjoy equal status and protection but
are subject to those limitations necessary to maintain the
safety, good order and security of the facility, including
the health and safety of prisoners and staff. After being
interviewed on this grievance, prisoner Morgan was classified
to Administrative Segregation as the result of participating
in a disturbance at KCF. PD 04.05.120, V, #8 states a
prisoner in segregation shall be provided with three meals
per day served from the same menus available to general
population prisoners. This includes, as required, meals from
the therapeutic diet menu and, if available at that facility,
meals from a menu developed to meet the necessary religious
dietary restrictions of the prisoner. The religious diet menu
is not available at IBC because the facility is not a
designated location for the Vegan menu designed to meet the
religious dietary needs of prisoners. In accordance with PD
04.05.120, prisoner Morgan will be served meals from the same
menus available to general population prisoners while housed
in Administrative Segregation at IBC. SCC [Security
Classification Committee] will determine prisoner
Morgan's release and/or appropriate transfer from
IBC's Administrative Segregation Unit with consideration
for safety and security concerns.
See ECF No. 1, PageID.23. Plaintiff states that
Defendant Trierweiler affirmed this denial on October 25,
alleges that Defendants Davids and Buchin told him that he
was to be sent to Ionia Max. Plaintiff responded that he was
afraid to be sent to Ionia Max because he had enemies there,
but Defendants Davids and Buchin just laughed. Plaintiff was
not sent to Ionia Max, but was actually transferred to
Kincheloe, and then to LMF.
states that between September 13, 2016, and November 20,
2016, Defendant Trierweiler approved transfers for religious
diets, but purposely delayed Plaintiff's request out of a
desire to retaliate against Plaintiff. During this time
period, Plaintiff endured inhumane denials of a religious
diet, due process, and legal material. Plaintiff alleges that
he was only permitted to shower once between November 15,
2016, and November 23, 2016. Plaintiff was not given any food
on November 21, 2016. On November 22, 2016, Plaintiff was
forced to eat food that violated his beliefs because he was
claims that someone named Scott Sprader acknowledged his
approval for a Halal diet on November 21, 2016. However, on
November 29, 2016, Defendant Naeyart told Plaintiff that he
was being starved until verification of his religious diet
arrived. Plaintiff did not receive a Halal meal at any time
between November 21, 2016, and October 5, 2017. Instead
Plaintiff was forced to accept a diet advocated by another
faith, such as Judaism or Buddhism. Plaintiff was also denied
access to religious services.
attaches a copy of a letter he wrote to Defendant Lindholm on
May 11, 2017, asserting the denial of a Halal diet which
complied with his religious beliefs. Plaintiff asserted that
he was being forced to eat a diet which complied with
Buddhist and Jewish religious tenets. See ECF No. 1,
PageID.41. On May 12, 2017, Defendant Lindholm responded,
indicating that Plaintiff had been approved for a religious
diet on March 10, 2016, and that the “religious menu
served at LMF (and throughout the MDOC) satisfies
Kosher/Halal/Vegan requirements.” See ECF No.
alleges that on May 28, 2017, during the month of Ramadan, he
informed LMF staff that food was being delivered too late to
be accepted for the fast. Plaintiff explained that he was
being forced to choose between sustaining himself or
practicing his religious beliefs. Plaintiff received a
misconduct ticket because of his complaint. Plaintiff
attaches a copy of the misconduct hearing report, which shows
that he stuck his arm out of the slot when it was opened by
the officer. Plaintiff argued that he was never ordered to
remove his arm, so he could not be guilty of disobeying a
direct order. Plaintiff was found guilty of the misconduct.
See ECF No. 1, PageID.39. On June 7, 2017, the shift
commander told ...