United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MAC S. HUDSON, FARADAN IBN SALAHUDDIN, EDGAR ROCK, RAYMOND COLON, ABDUL J. LOPEZ, RALPH BROWN, EVANS MAHON and UMAR SALAHUDDIN, Plaintiffs,
LUIS S. SPENCER, CHRISTOPHER MITCHELL, BRUCE GELB, KAREN DINARDO, CHRISTINE LARKINS, LOIS RUSSO, JAILEEN HOPKINS and DALE BISSONNETTE, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
NATHANIEL M. GORTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
a pro se prisoner case in which inmates at MCI-Concord claim
that they have been denied the right to observe tenets of the
Nation of Islam (“NOI”) while incarcerated.
Defendants are all employees of MCI-Concord or the
Massachusetts Department of Correction (“the
before the Court are defendants' motion for summary
judgment and plaintiffs' cross-motion for summary
judgment. For the reasons that follow, defendants' motion
for summary judgment will be allowed and plaintiffs'
cross-motion for summary judgment will be denied.
(sometimes referred to as “the inmates”)
initiated this lawsuit in December, 2011, and filed an
amended complaint in March, 2014. In their amended complaint,
plaintiffs alleged that defendants violated 1)
plaintiffs' First and Fourteenth Amendment rights,
including the right to equal protection, under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983, 2) the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized
Persons Act (“RLUIPA”) under 42 U.S.C. §
2000cc, et seq., 3) the Prison Litigation Reform Act
(“PLRA”) under 42 U.S.C. § 1997e, 4)
Massachusetts General Laws chapter 127, § 88, 5)
articles I and XII of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights
and 6) Title 103 of the Code of Massachusetts Regulations,
inmates requested 1) the appointment of a full-time NOI
chaplain, 2) daily access to space for worship, 3) separate
NOI fasting and feast sessions during religious ceremonies,
4) an ability to wear religious attire such as bow ties and
lapel pins, 4) an ability to engage in “spiritual
drilling” and 6) compensatory and punitive damages.
filed a motion for summary judgment in July, 2015, and the
inmates filed a cross-motion for summary judgment the
following month. This Court entered its original Memorandum
and Order allowing, in part, and denying, in part, the
parties' cross-motions for summary judgment in September,
2015. The Court allowed defendants' motion for summary
judgment as to all of plaintiffs' claims except as to
plaintiff's RLUIPA claim for injunctive relief with
respect to daily access to worship space.
Court acknowledged in its original Memorandum and Order,
defendants explained why they have not hired a full-time
Nation of Islam chaplain but did not explain why plaintiffs
cannot have access to worship space when there is no chaplain
available. Plaintiffs asserted that defendants have allowed
other religious groups access to worship space and have
provided non-chaplain supervision. The Court's compromise
position was to require defendants to provide plaintiffs with
televised recordings of Jumuah services when a chaplain is
unavailable to provide in-person services.
January, 2018, the First Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed,
in part, the Court's Memorandum and Order allowing
defendants' motion for summary judgment and remanded for
reconsideration of the limitations upon the inmates'
access to worship space. Hudson v. Spencer, No.
15-2323, 2018 WL 2046094, *5 (1st Cir. Jan. 23, 2018). The
First Circuit held that plaintiffs' affidavits were
sufficient to show that the lack of daily access to space for
congregational worship substantially burdened their religious
exercise. Id. at *2. The First Circuit remanded the
case so this Court could consider whether defendants have
demonstrated that those access limitations were the least
restrictive means of furthering defendants' compelling
security interests. Id.
Motions for Summary Judgment
role of summary judgment is “to pierce the pleadings
and to assess the proof in order to see whether there is a
genuine need for trial.” Mesnick v. Gen. Elec.
Co., 950 F.2d 816, 822 (1st Cir. 1991) (quoting
Garside v. Osco Drug, Inc., 895 F.2d 46, 50 (1st
Cir. 1990)). The burden is on the moving party to show,
through the pleadings, discovery and affidavits, “that
there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the
movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
is material if it “might affect the outcome of the suit
under the governing law . . . .” Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A genuine
issue of material fact exists where the evidence with respect
to the material fact in dispute “is such that a
reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving
moving party satisfies its burden, the burden shifts to the
non-moving party to set forth specific facts showing that
there is a genuine, triable issue. Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett,477 U.S. 317, 324 (1986). The Court must view
the entire record in the light most favorable to the
non-moving party and make all reasonable inferences in that
party's favor. O'Connor v. Steeves, 994 F.2d
905, 907 (1st Cir. 1993). Summary judgment is appropriate if,
after viewing the record in the non-moving party's favor,