United States District Court, N.D. New York
HALL, III PLAINTIFF, PRO SE
DECISION AND ORDER I. INTRODUCTION
T. SUDDABY CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Murray Hall, III commenced this action by filing a pro se
civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983
("Section 1983") and the Religious Land Use and
Institutionalized Persons Act ("RLUIPA"), 42 U.S.C.
§ 2000cc, together with an application to proceed in
forma pauperis ("IFP"). Dkt. No. 1
("Compl."); Dkt. No. 7 ("IFP
Application"). By Decision and Order of this Court filed
December 15, 2017, plaintiff's IFP Application was
granted but following review of the complaint in accordance
with 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) and 28 U.S.C. §
1915A(b), the Court found that the complaint was subject to
dismissal for failure to state a claim upon which relief may
be granted. Dkt. No. 9 (the "December 2017 Order").
In light of his pro se status, plaintiff was afforded an
opportunity to submit an amended complaint. Id.
Presently before this Court is plaintiff's amended
complaint. Dkt. No. 13 ("Am. Compl.").
original complaint, plaintiff asserted claims arising during
his confinement in the custody of the Department of
Corrections and Community Supervision ("DOCCS").
See generally Compl. Plaintiff alleged that he is a
Muslim who at one or more unidentified times between January
15, 2013 and May 17, 2017 (the filing date of his complaint),
had "been force[d] to eat non-Hala foods to survive,
foods that violates [sic] [his] religious diet."
Id. at 4. Plaintiff named the Department of
Corrections and Community Supervision and Acting Commissioner
of DOCCS Anthony J. Annucci as defendants. Id. at 1,
complaint was liberally construed to allege that defendants
interfered with plaintiff's right to freely exercise his
religion in violation of his rights under § 3 of RLUIPA
and the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.
See December 2017 Order at 4.
reviewing the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B) and 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b), this Court found
that plaintiff failed to state a claim against any of the
defendants. See generally December 2017 Order. In
light of his pro se status, plaintiff was granted an
opportunity to submit an amended complaint if he wished to
pursue this action. Id. at 14-15.
Review of the Amended Complaint
legal standard governing the dismissal of a pleading for
failure to state a claim pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B) and 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b) was discussed at
length in the December 2017 Order and it will not be restated
in this Decision and Order. See December 2017 Order
amended complaint, plaintiff names the following six
defendants: Anthony Annucci, Commissioner of DOCCS; Daniel
Mortuscello, Deputy Commissioner for Administrative Services,
DOCCS; Jeff McKoy, Deputy Commissioner for Program Services,
DOCCS; Brandon Smith, Superintendent, Greene C.F.; Deacon
Young, Chaplain, Greene C.F.; and John Doe, Cook, Greene C.F.
Am. Compl. at 1-2. In addition to adding five new defendants,
plaintiff has removed DOCCS as a defendant. See
generally, Am. Compl.
asserts allegations of wrongdoing that occurred while he was
incarcerated at Greene C.F. See Am. Compl. at 2. The
following facts are set forth as alleged by plaintiff in his
November 28, 2016, at approximately 3:40 p.m., plaintiff
"went to the Messhall to ask for a hala meal, . . .
[and] was . . . told by [defendant] John Doe that the food
provided did not violate the tenets of Islam." Am.
Compl. at 3. Plaintiff "complained that if the Jewish
inmates get Kosher meals, then the Muslim inmates should get
Hala meals because the Fourteenth Amendment demand[s]
it." Id. Plaintiff filed a grievance regarding
the denial of hala meals to Muslim inmates, and stated in his
grievance that the alternative meal offered to him is not
hala. Id. at 4. Plaintiff "provided Quranic
Evidence to Defendant's [sic] that support
plaintiff's cla[i]m that the alternative entree and
meatless sauce do, in fact, violate the tenets of
Islam." Id. at 3. However, defendants, after
being informed of this, failed to take corrective action.
Id. at 3-4. "Plaintiff was told by
Superintendent [Smith] and I.G.R.C. Members that the
grievance is Departmental in nature and is therefore beyond
the purview of the facility grievance program."
Id. at 4.
requests monetary damages and injunctive relief. Am.
Compl. at 4. For a more complete statement of
plaintiff's claims, refer to the amended complaint.
the amended complaint liberally, plaintiff alleges that the
defendants violated his religious rights under the First
Amendment and RLUIPA, and denied him equal protection in
violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.
RLUIPA Claims ...