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Jenkins v. Stutsman County Correctional Center Commissioner Chairman

United States District Court, D. North Dakota

March 4, 2015

Brodrick Jamar Jenkins, Plaintiff,
v.
Stutsman County Correctional Center Commissioner Chairman, Mark T. Klose (in his official capacity), Tracey Trapp, Stutsman County Correctional Center Administration Officer (in her official and individual capacity), Jolene Unknown Last, Stutsman County Correctional Center C.B.M Managed Service manager (in her official and individual capacity), and Marlin C. Sejnoha, Jr., C.B.M. Managed Service C.E.O. Defendants.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

ALICE R. SENECHAL, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff Brodrick Jamar Jenkins (Jenkins), a federal inmate confined at the Stutsman County Correctional Center (SCCC) during 2013, filed an amended complaint[1] alleging his religious rights were "hindered and obstructed" by the defendants in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983, 42 U.S.C. § 2000cc-1, 42 U.S.C. § 2000bb-3, the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the North Dakota Constitution, and North Dakota Century Code section 12-44.1-14. (Doc. #14, 7). On August 14, 2014, defendants Mark T. Klose (Klose), SCCC Commissioner Chairman, and Tracey Trapp (Trapp), SCCC Administration Officer, filed a motion for summary judgment, (Doc. #54), and memorandum in support of the motion, (Doc. #55). On August 18, 2014, defendants Marlin C. Senjoha, Jr. (Senjoha), C.B.M. Managed Service C.E.O., and Jolene Taszarek (Taszarek), C.B.M. Managed Service Manager, also filed a motion for summary judgment, (Doc. #58), and brief in support of the motion, (Doc. #59). Jenkins did not respond to the motions for summary judgment.[2]

Summary of Recommendation

Jenkins has not responded to the motions for summary judgment and the time to do so has expired, so the motions could be granted under Local Civil Rule 7.1(F). Additionally, under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), prisoners must exhaust their administrative remedies before filing claims arising under federal law, and claims filed before exhaustion must be dismissed. 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a); Johnson v. Jones, 340 F.3d 624, 627 (8th Cir. 2003). Jenkins did not comply with the administrative exhaustion requirement as to his federal law claims. Jenkins' remaining claims do not arise under federal law, and, because no viable federal claim remains, the court should decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the remaining claims. Therefore, it is RECOMMENDED that the court find Jenkins failed to exhaust his administrative remedies as to his federal law claims, that the court decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the remaining claims, that the motions for summary judgment be GRANTED, and that the complaint be DISMISSED without prejudice.

Jenkins has also failed to raise a substantively viable claim. In the event the court does not dismiss Jenkins' claims as recommended above, it is then RECOMMENDED that the court find Jenkins failed to identify any genuine issue of material fact, that the motions for summary judgment be GRANTED, and that Jenkins' complaint be DISMISSED with prejudice.

Facts

Jenkins' complaint concerns alleged deficiencies in food provided to him during the Islamic observance of Ramadan.[3] C.B.M. Managed Services (CBM) is contracted to provide food services at SCCC. (Doc. #61, 2). Jenkins, a federal inmate, was confined at SCCC from February 2013 through August 2013, pending assignment to a federal prison. (Doc. #56, 2). On July 10, 2013, Jenkins submitted a kite[4], notifying SCCC he wished to participate "for the next 29 days for the [I]slamic fasting period [of Ramadan.]" (Doc. #5-1, 2). Jenkins stated that, during the fasting period, he could not "eat pork only kosher foods[, ]" stated he was allergic to turkey, noted he could not "eat during the day light time[, ]" and asserted the fast should conclude with a "feast... as a celebration[.]" Id.

The SCCC policy manuals describe the process to be followed to address dietary requests related to religious observances. Upon receiving an inmate's request to participate in the Ramadan fast, SCCC notifies CBM. (Doc. #61, 2). CBM then provides the inmate with meals in accordance with the "Religious Diets policy section of the CBM Diet Manual." Id . With regard to Muslim dietary practices, the CBM Diet Manual provides, "A regular diet excluding pork and pork derivatives or a vegetarian diet should be served to individuals of Muslim faith.... During Ramadan, Muslim inmates participating in the fast receive the approved religious meals before sunrise and after sunset." (Doc. #61-4, 1). The CBM Diet Manual also provides a one week sample menu for Ramadan. (Doc. #61-5).

From July 10, 2013, through August 6, 2013, Jenkins submitted five kites, claiming the dietary accommodations provided to him were inadequate. (Doc. #5-1, 3-7). Jenkins claimed that the portions of his evening meals were not large enough, that he did not receive an adequate amount of daily calories, that he was entitled to "hot meals each day[, ]" that he was given "jello" that contained pork products, and that, on four occasions, his breakfast was not delivered until after sunrise. Id . In his amended complaint, Jenkins claims the "fast should have been broken with a feast of kosher food items supplied by the jail, but it wasn't." (Doc. #14, 6). The defendants state that, during the time period at issue, Jenkins received food of an average of 2800 total calories per day, (Doc. #60, 4; Doc. #61, 4), and that CBM was informed by the manufacturer of the "jello" that the product did not contain pork or pork products, (Doc. #59, 6; Doc. #61, 5). The defendants acknowledge "it was not always feasible to provide hot meals to [Jenkins] during his Ramadan fast" because Jenkins was unable to eat during daylight. (Doc. #60, 4; Doc #61, 4). Because "CBM's understanding is that Muslim/Islamic dietary law does not require a feast at the end of the Ramadan fast[, ]... CBM does not serve such a feast as a matter of course[.]" (Doc. #61, 5). The defendants informed Jenkins they would "not provide a final feast to break the fast[, ]" but noted Jenkins could purchase additional food through the inmate commissary. (Doc. #57-7, 1). Defendants have filed exhibits detailing items available from the commissary, (Doc. #57-1), along with a report showing the running balance of Jenkins' inmate account and items he purchased from the commissary during the relevant time period. (Doc. #57-2).

SCCC outlines a grievance procedure for inmates dissatisfied with their confinement. (Doc. #57-5, 8). The grievance procedure requires an inmate to write the complaint on a grievance form and submit the form to a correctional officer, who forwards the grievance to a sergeant. Id . An inmate who is not satisfied with the response "may appeal the decision within 24 hours by filling out an appeal form. Sergeants shall have acted upon the matter and have provided a written response within 15 days." Id . Although Jenkins submitted kites regarding his Ramadan fasting concerns and claims he "wrote... one grievance[, ]"[5] (Doc. #14, 2), he does not assert that he appealed any decision within twenty-four hours, as required by the grievance procedure. Rather, Jenkins filed the instant suit, claiming violations under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, 42 U.S.C. § 2000cc-1, 42 U.S.C. § 2000bb-3, the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the North Dakota Constitution, and North Dakota Century Code section 12-44.1-14. (Doc. #14). Defendants moved for summary judgment, (Doc. #54; Doc. #58), but Jenkins did not respond.

Summary Judgment Standard

Summary judgment is appropriate if there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure "mandates the entry of summary judgment... against a party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case." Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322. The moving party bears the burden of establishing the basis for its motion. Donovan v. Harrah's Md. Heights Corp., 289 F.3d 527, 529 (8th Cir. 2002). When the moving party demonstrates no material facts are in dispute, the nonmoving party then bears the burden of setting forth facts showing a genuine issue for trial. Id . "The court must view all facts and inferences in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party." Id.

Discussion

1. Procedural ...


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