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Holland v. Goord

July 12, 2006

DARRYL HOLLAND. PLAINTIFF,
v.
GLENN GOORD, THOMAS SCHOELLKOPF, ANTHONY F. ZON AND J. BARBARA, DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Siragusa, J.

DECISION and ORDER

No. 98-A-0319

INTRODUCTION

This prisoner civil rights case, brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (2003), is before the Court on defendants' motion to dismiss plaintiff's complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). For the reasons stated below, the motion is granted in part and denied in part.

BACKGROUND

In his form complaint filed on April 3, 2005, plaintiff makes only one claim: that his Constitutional rights under the First, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments were violated. However, the Court will divide his one claim into three separate causes of action for the analysis of defendants' motion.

As to a first cause of action, plaintiff, who is a practicing Muslim, alleges that he was ordered to undergo a urinalysis by defendant Corrections Officer J. Barbara ("Barbara") on February 5, 2004 at Wende Correctional Facility. (Compl. at 7.) Plaintiff maintains that he was unable to provide a sample because of the fasting requirements of the Islamic holiday of Ramadan. Id. In that regard, plaintiff asserts that observance of Ramadan requires that Muslims not eat food or drink water from sunrise to sunset. (Motion in Opposition to Motion to Dismiss (# 12) ("Pl.'s Response"), at 11.) Additionally, plaintiff maintains that Muslims observing Ramadan are forbidden to expose any private part of their bodies during daytime. (Id. at 6.) Consequently, plaintiff states that when he was offered water, he refused to undergo a urinalysis. (Compl. at 7.) Plaintiff was then put in keeplock for violating rule 180.14 (urinalysis testing violation). (Id. at 13.) Plaintiff contends that while under keeplock, he was unable to attend Muslim services and classes, and that he was unable to celebrate the end of Ramadan. (Id.)

As to a second cause of action, plaintiff alleges that on November 23, 2003, he was subjected to a disciplinary hearing. (Id.) Plaintiff asserts he attempted to call the Imam*fn1 as a witness in this hearing. (Pl.'s Response, at 11.) Plaintiff contends that he wanted the Imam to testify that the observance of Ramadan required Muslims to fast and that prohibited them from showing their private parts during the daylight hours. (Id.) The hearing resulted in a guilty verdict, and, as a consequence, plaintiff served seventy-seven days in keeplock. (Defs.' Mem. of Law (# 10), at 1.) On January 21, 2004, Superintendent Zon accepted plaintiff's appeal in part, determining that the urinalysis could have been taken after dark, after the fast had ended. (Comp. at 19.)

As to a third cause of action, plaintiff alleges that the above-stated punishments imposed upon him constituted cruel and unusual punishment. (Compl. at 7.) He does not further elaborate on this Eighth Amendment claim.

In their motion to dismiss, defendants argue that plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief. Specifically, they state that:

(1) defendants were acting in their official capacity, and all claims against defendants in their official capacity are barred by the Eleventh Amendment, (2) the claims against defendants Goord and Zon should be dismissed because they had no personal involvement; and (3) there was no Due Process violation because plaintiff's confinement did not rise to an atypical and significant hardship required to implicate the Fourteenth Amendment.

STANDARDS OF LAW

Section 1983

Plaintiff brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In order to state a claim under § 1983, plaintiff must allege (1) that the challenged conduct was attributable at least in part to a person acting under color of state law, and (2) that such conduct deprived plaintiff of a right, privilege, or immunity secured by the Constitution ...


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