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ClarkWillis v. Adamson

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

September 24, 2019

JULIUS C. CLARKWILLIS #726262 Plaintiff,
v.
STEVE ADAMSON, Defendant.

          Hon. Robert J. Jonker Chief U.S. District Judge.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          MAARTEN VERMAAT U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         I. Introduction

         This is a civil rights action brought by state prisoner Julius C. ClarkWillis pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. ClarkWillis claims that Defendant Steve Adamson denied him a religious diet in violation of his First Amendment rights.[1] Defendant Adamson filed a motion for summary judgment and asserts that he is entitled to qualified immunity. (ECF No. 29.) For the reasons stated below, the undersigned respectfully recommends that the Court deny Defendant Adamson's motion.

         II. Factual Allegations

         The pleadings and subsequent filings in this case present a confusing picture of events. After thoroughly reviewing the Complaint (ECF No. 1) and the summary judgment briefs (ECF Nos. 29 and 36), the undersigned interprets the facts as follows.

         In early 2017, ClarkWillis began studying the Islamic faith and the Holy Quran while he was incarcerated in the Ionia Correctional Facility (ICF). He alleges that his religion requires him to eat a halal diet, which means that he cannot eat pork or “pork by-products” and can only eat other meats if they were properly prepared.

         On March 1, 2017, ClarkWillis requested to have his religious preference changed to Al-Islam and to take the religious diet test. On April 14, 2017, ClarkWillis signed the religious meal participation agreement and took the religious diet test. The religious test involved an interview with Chaplain Cheney. On April 26, 2017, while ClarkWillis was waiting for a decision on his diet request, he was transferred from ICF to the Marquette Branch Prison (MBP). Defendant Adamson was not involved in the decision to transfer ClarkWillis to MBP. ClarkWillis states that ICF is the only level 5 facility that provides a Muslim halal diet and that MBP does not accommodate such a diet.

         On May 2, 2017, ClarkWillis received a memorandum informing him that Defendant Adamson had denied his request for the religious diet. The memorandum noted that “while it is difficult to discern sincerity based on external indicators, it was decided not to transfer [ClarkWillis] to a facility where [his] requested religious diet could be accommodated.” (ECF No. 1, PageID.4.)

         ClarkWillis claims that the denial of the religious diet violated his federal rights and sues Defendant Adamson in his official capacity.[2] (ECF No. 1, PageID.2.) He seeks “to be transferred to [a] facility that provides [his] religious diet accommodation and approved for the Halal Muslim diet” and “to be compensated for the time that my rights ha[ve] been violated.” (ECF No. 1, PageID.5.)

         III. Summary Judgment Standard

         Summary judgment is appropriate when the record reveals that there are no genuine issues as to any material fact in dispute and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56; Kocak v. Comty. Health Partners of Ohio, Inc., 400 F.3d 466, 468 (6th Cir. 2005). The standard for determining whether summary judgment is appropriate is “whether the evidence presents a sufficient disagreement to require submission to a jury or whether it is so one-sided that one party must prevail as a matter of law.” State Farm Fire & Cas. Co. v. McGowan, 421 F.3d 433, 436 (6th Cir. 2005) (quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 251-52 (1986)). The court must consider all pleadings, depositions, affidavits, and admissions on file, and draw all justifiable inferences in favor of the party opposing the motion. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986); Twin City Fire Ins. Co. v. Adkins, 400 F.3d 293, 296 (6th Cir. 2005).

         IV. Analysis

         A. ...


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