United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
DeMarcus T. Young, #753683, Plaintiff,
Kenneth McKee and David Leach, Defendants.
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION, DENYING
MOTION TO STRIKE AND GRANTING MOTION FOR SUMMARY
L. MALONEY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
a civil rights lawsuit brought by a prisoner. The magistrate
judge issued a report (ECF No. 85) recommending
Plaintiff's motion to strike (ECF No. 79) be denied and
Defendants' motion for summary judgment (ECF No. 69) be
granted. Plaintiff filed objections. (ECF No. 85.) The Court
will adopt the report and recommendation.
being served with a report and recommendation (R&R)
issued by a magistrate judge, a party has fourteen days to
file written objections to the proposed findings and
recommendations. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Fed.R.Civ.P.
72(b)(2). A district court judge reviews de novo the portions
of the R&R to which objections have been filed. 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b)(1); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3). Only those
objections that are specific are entitled to a de novo review
under the statute. Mira v. Marshall, 806 F.2d 636,
637 (6th Cir. 1986) (per curiam).
is the founder of a religion he calls Trution. The Michigan
Department of Corrections (MDOC) has declined to recognize
Trution as a religion. Accordingly, Plaintiff cannot have
group services, Trution meals, or Trution-associated
religious items. The magistrate judge addressed
Plaintiff's claims brought under the Religious Land Use
and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), the Free Exercise
Clause of the First Amendment, the Equal Protection Clause of
the Fourteenth Amendment, and Defendants' request for
begins with “general objections” and asserts
other similar general objections throughout the document.
Those general objections are not sufficiently specific to
warrant review. "[A]n objection that does nothing more
than state a disagreement with the magistrate's suggested
resolution, or simply summarizes what has been presented
before, is not an 'objection' as that term is used in
the context of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72."
Brown v. City of Grand Rapids, Michigan, No.
16-2433, 2017 WL 4712064, at *2 (6th Cir. June 16, 2017). The
general objections are overruled.
magistrate judge recommends finding that Plaintiff has not
established a genuine issue of material fact for any of his
RLIUPA, Free Exercise, or Equal Protection claims. The
magistrate judge also recommends finding that Defendants are
entitled to qualified immunity because Plaintiff cannot show
that “Defendants were required to recognize Trution has
a religion for the purposes of group services and to provide
[Plaintiff] with his requested meal.” (R&R at 18
PageID.936.) Plaintiff objects, asserting that this statement
mischaracterizes his claim. (Obj. PageID.954.) Plaintiff
insists that he merely wants to practice his religion without
a substantial burden on its vital tenets.
for the sake of argument only, that Plaintiff could show some
error in the proposed findings of fact or conclusions of law
in the R&R that would require the Court to conclude that
a genuine issue of material fact existed for one of his
statutory or constitutional claims, the Court would still
ultimately grant the motion for summary judgment. Plaintiff
has not demonstrated that the law was so clearly defined that
either Defendant would have known his conduct was unlawful.
No. clearly established precedent requires MDOC to recognize
Trution as a religious group within the prison system.
(See ECF No. 70-2 MDOC Policy Directive 05.03.150
¶ K PageID.760.)
clearly established precedent requires MDOC to allow
religious practices when the prisoner making the claim is the
founder of the religion from which the religious tenets
arise. MDOC has established that such a situation presents
security problems. (See MDOC Policy Directive
05.03.150 ¶ L.) Group worship under these circumstances
would pose a security threat because it puts Plaintiff in a
leadership role over other prisoners. That other prisoners
may assist a chaplain is not the functional equivalent.
Similarly, these same circumstances would functionally
require prison officials to serve whatever food a prisoner
wants whenever the prisoner wants to be served, so long as
the prisoner asserts the food and the timing of its service
is a requirement of his or her sincerely held religious
Court concludes Defendants are entitled to qualified
immunity, assuming that they violated Plaintiff's
statutory or constitutional right. Accordingly, the Report
and Recommendation (ECF No. 85) is ADOPTED
as the Opinion of this Court. Plaintiff's motion to
strike (ECF No. 79) ...