United States District Court, W.D. New York
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Meghan K. McGuire, Terence Lee Robinson, Jr., Nixon Peabody LLP, Rochester, NY, for Plaintiff.
J. Richard Benitez, NYS Attorney General's Office, Rochester, NY, for Defendants.
DECISION AND ORDER
DAVID G. LARIMER, District Judge.
Plaintiff, an inmate in the custody of the New York State Department of Correctional Services (" DOCS" ), brings this action against DOCS and approximately fifty of its officials and employees (collectively " defendants" ) pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000cc et seq. (" RLUIPA" ). Plaintiff claims that during his incarceration at Upstate Correctional Facility (" Upstate" ), Downstate Correctional Facility, Wende Correctional Facility (" Wende" ), and Auburn Correctional Facility (" Auburn" ), he was denied certain religious accommodations, was compelled to accept a non-kosher diet, was compelled to participate in kosher diet fast days, and was denied adequate medical care, all in violation of constitutional and statutory law.
Plaintiff now moves for summary judgment pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. Proc. 56, and defendants cross move to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. Proc. 12, and/or for summary judgment.
For the reasons set forth below, the defendants' cross motion to dismiss and/or for summary judgment (Dkt. # 170) is granted in part and denied in part, and plaintiff's motion for summary judgment (Dkt. # 167) is denied.
I. Standard on a Motion for Summary Judgment
Rule 56(c) provides that a moving party is entitled to summary judgment, " if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). The Court's role in determining a motion for summary judgment is not " to weigh the evidence and determine the truth of the matter but to determine whether there is a genuine issue for trial." Id. When considering a motion for summary judgment, the Court must draw inferences from underlying facts " in the light most favorable to the party opposing the motion." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587-88, 106 S.Ct. 1348, 89 L.Ed.2d 538 (1986), quoting United States v. Diebold, Inc., 369 U.S. 654, 655, 82 S.Ct. 993, 8 L.Ed.2d 176 (1962).
II. Plaintiff's Claims Against the Defendants in Their Official Capacities
The plaintiff alleges claims under Section 1983 and RLUIPA against the defendants in both their individual and official capacities, and seeks money damages. However, it is well-settled that absent waiver by the State or valid congressional override, such claims against state defendants
in their official capacities for money damages are barred by the Eleventh Amendment. See U.S. Const. amend. XI; Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159, 169, 105 S.Ct. 3099, 87 L.Ed.2d 114 (1985); Sommer v. County of Suffolk, 306 Fed.Appx. 660, 662 (2d Cir.2009). See Sossamon v. Texas, --- U.S. ----, 131 S.Ct. 1651, 1663, 179 L.Ed.2d 700 (2011); Hall v. Ekpe, 428 Fed.Appx. 93, 94 (2d Cir.2011). To the extent ...