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Shakur v. Graham

United States District Court, N.D. New York

May 1, 2015

SHABAKA SHAKUR, Plaintiff,
v.
HAROLD GRAHAM, in his official capacity as Superintendent; JUSTIN THOMAS, individually and in his official capacity as Deputy Superintendent of Programs; CHUTTY, individually and in his official capacity as Security Captain; E. FAGAN, individually and in his official capacity as Captain; ROGOFSKY, individually and in his official capacity as Sergeant; MURRAY, individually and in his official capacity as Sergeant; G. STEINBERG, individually and in his official capacity as Correctional Officer; GIFFORD, individually and in his official capacity as Correctional Officer; PELT, individually and in his official capacity as Correctional Officer; HEWITE, individually and in his official capacity as Correctional Officer; and DONNA MARTIN, individually and in her official capacity as Food Service Administrator, Defendants.

SHABAKA SHAKUR 89-A-2546 Shawangunk Correctional Facility Wallkill, New York, Plaintiff pro se.

MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER

MAE A. D'AGOSTINO, District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff pro se Shabaka Shakur, an inmate in the custody of the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision ("DOCCS"), commenced this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1985, and 1986 alleging violations of his constitutional rights under the First, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments, as well as under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Person Act ("RLUIPA"), 42 U.S.C. § 2000cc et seq. See Dkt. No. 1. Thereafter, Plaintiff made an application to proceed in forma pauperis ("IFP") under 28 U.S.C. § 1915. See Dkt. No. 2. Magistrate Judge Therèse Wiley Dancks granted Plaintiff IFP status. See Dkt. No. 6.

In her Order and Report-Recommendation, Magistrate Judge Dancks recommended that (1) Defendants Pelt and Martin be required to respond to the First Amendment claim in Plaintiff's first cause of action; (2) Defendant Thomas be required to respond to Plaintiff's third cause of action; (3) Defendants Hewite and Steinberg be required to respond to Plaintiff's fifth cause of action; (4) Defendants Chutty and Gifford be required to respond to Plaintiff's retaliation claim regarding the events on September 17, 2012 asserted in his seventh cause of action; (5) Defendant Steinberg be required to respond to Plaintiff's retaliation claim regarding the events of August 12, - asserted in his seventh cause of action; (6) Defendants Pelt, Hewite, and Steinberg be required to respond to the First Amendment claim in Plaintiff's seventh cause of action; and (7) Defendant Fagan be required to respond to Plaintiff's retaliation claim regarding his placement in administrative segregation asserted in his seventh cause of action. Id.

The Order and Report-Recommendation further recommended that this Court dismiss Plaintiff's 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1985, and 1986 claims for monetary damages with prejudice against all Defendants in their official capacities, as well as Plaintiff's RLUIPA claims for monetary damages against all Defendants in both their official and individual capacities. Id. Lastly, Magistrate Judge Dancks recommended that Plaintiff's remaining claims against the named Defendants be dismissed without prejudice, thereby recommending that Plaintiff be granted leave to amend with regard to those claims.[1]

Currently before the Court are Plaintiff's objections to Magistrate Judge Dancks' Report Recommendation and Order. See Dkt. No. 7.

II. BACKGROUND[2]

At all relevant times, Plaintiff was incarcerated at Auburn Correctional Facility ("Auburn"). Dkt. No. 1 at ¶¶ 23, 45. During this time, Plaintiff was the inmate facilitator of the Shia Muslim community at Auburn. Id. On September 17, 2012, Plaintiff was ordered to undergo a urinalysis, which ultimately was negative for drug usage. Following the urinalysis, Defendant Gifford searched Plaintiff's cell, recovering a weapon which Plaintiff contends was "planted" by Defendant Gifford. As a result of the uncovered weapon, Plaintiff was immediately placed in the Special Housing Unit ("SHU"). Id. at ¶¶ 27-30.

On October 27, 2012 the Islamic Eid ul Adaha ("Eid") feast, "a major religious observation central to the Islamic faith, " was held. Id. at ¶ 38. Plaintiff was a named participant pursuant to his religious designation as a practitioner of the Islamic faith. Id. at ¶ 39. According to Plaintiff's complaint, "[t]he policy at Auburn prison allows prisoners confined to SHU to observe the Eid by... providing them with the Halal meal prepared for the event." Id. at ¶ 40. During distribution of the noon meal, Plaintiff contends that he requested his Halal meal and was informed by Defendant Pelt that "the messhall had not sent any halal meals to SHU." Id. at ¶ 42. However, upon further inquiry, Plaintiff received a letter from Defendant Martin indicating that "the meals were prepared and delivered to the elevator for SHU." Dkt. No. 1-1 at 7.

Plaintiff subsequently filed a grievance on November 2, 2012, and was allegedly informed by non-party Sergeant Manna on November 7, 2012 that "no muslim inmates received a halal meal on October 27, 2012." Dkt. No. 1 at ¶¶ 51, 53. On January 22, 2013, Plaintiff received a formal grievance response from Defendant Thomas, stating that the "[f]ood service staff has been reminded to closely monitor special diet delivery locations. Grievance is granted to that extent." Dkt. No. 1-1 at 20. Plaintiff replied on January 25, 2013, requesting that Defendant Thomas institute a signing procedure to insure that religious meals are received by adherents." Dkt. No. 1 at ¶ 58; see also Dkt. No. 1-1 at 22. Plaintiff contends that he subsequently did not receive Halal meals during either his thirty-day fast of Ramadan in July 2013 or his six-day fast of Shawwal in August 2013. See Dkt. No. 1 at ¶¶ 66, 70, 76, 83.

Plaintiff commenced this civil rights action on April 16, 2014. See Dkt. No. 1. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e), 1915A, Plaintiff's complaint underwent an initial screening regarding the sufficiency of the allegations contained therein. On September 17, 2014, Magistrate Judge Dancks filed an Order and Report-Recommendation recommending that several of Plaintiff's causes of action be dismissed. See Dkt. No. 6 at 28-30. Plaintiff filed written objections on October 6, 2014, specifically objecting to Judge Dancks' sixth recommendation to dismiss Plaintiff's first cause of action against Defendant Thomas. See Dkt. No. at 7 at 2.

III. DISCUSSION

A. Standard of ...


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