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Williams v. Stovall

United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Texarkana Division

March 11, 2016

DAMONT ANDRE WILLIAMS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
RON STOVALL; MS. McCLURE; WARDEN BRAZELL; and SGT. WHITEHURST, DEFENDANTS

MEMORANDUM OPINION

HON. BARRY A. BRYANT, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

Plaintiff Damont Andre Williams filed this civil rights case pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He proceeds pro se and in forma pauperis. Plaintiff is currently incarcerated at the Bowie County Correctional Center. Currently before me is Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment. ECF No. 32. Plaintiff responded with the aid of a Court prepared questionnaire. ECF No. 40.

The parties have consented to the jurisdiction of a magistrate judge to conduct any and all proceedings in this case, including conducting the trial, ordering the entry of a final judgment, and conducting all post-judgment proceedings. ECF No. 19. Pursuant to this authority, I find this Motion is ready for decision and issue this Memorandum Opinion.

1. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff is currently incarcerated in the Bowie County Correctional Center in Texarkana, Texas. During the time at issue in this case, Plaintiff was incarcerated in the Miller County Detention Center (“MCDC”). Plaintiff, a Muslim, filed his Complaint on May 23, 2013 alleging his constitutional rights were violated when he was “fed pork products under the guise that they were pork free”. ECF No. 1. On June 24, 2013 Plaintiff filed an Addendum to his Complaint (ECF No. 8) clarifying his claims against Sheriff Ron Stovall, Sgt. Whitehurst and Warden Brazell. Plaintiff also named Jerri McClure, the MCDC kitchen supervisor, as an additional defendant. ECF No. 8. Plaintiff makes both official and individual capacity claims against each Defendant. ECF No. 40.

On September 24, 2015, Defendants filed a Motion for Summary Judgment. ECF No. 32. Plaintiff filed a Response on February 22, 2016 using a questionnaire prepared by the Court. ECF No. 40.

2. SUMMARY JUDGMENT RECORD

Upon review of the summary judgment record, I find the following as undisputed facts:

Plaintiff was booked into MCDC on March 20, 2013. ECF No. 33-1. At this time, no record was made on the booking intake sheet regarding any request by Plaintiff for a pork-free diet because of his religious beliefs. ECF No. 33-1.

Plaintiff filed several grievances during his incarceration at MCDC relating to his diet. The first was filed on May 9, 2013 and states in: “I am a Muslim and have been for over 10 years now. Due to my religious beliefs the consumption of pork, pork by-products are forbidden. I was just informed that red #40 and yellow #5 contains pork by-products because I had my family research this.” ECF No. 33-4. Defendant Brazell responded in writing to this grievance on May 13, 2013 stating: “I spoke with the kitchen and they are investigating this grievance. They are going to watch your food tray and it should be taken care of[f]. If you see any item that doesn’t meet Muslim requirements let me know.” ECF No. 33-4.

On May 15, 2013 Plaintiff filed a second grievance stating that for the first time he was brought a chicken patty and greens instead of cold cuts and pork and beans. ECF 33-4. Defendant Brazell responded stating: “The products served here meet all your requirements. Pork and beans is the only thing that doesn’t and you are not served them. We are doing everything within reason to accommodate you. I would appreciate you doing the same.” ECF 33-4.

On May 16, 2013 Plaintiff filed a third grievance which responded to Defendant Brazell’s written notation on the May 15, 2013 grievance. Plaintiff states: “I received the response from you pertaining to the most recent grievance that I submitted where you stated I’m not served pork and beans but you failed or neglected to put that I’m not served pork and beans anymore, (anymore) being the key word because I was served pork & beans for 2 months unknowingly which is ILLEGAL because I should’ve [been] notified that pork is served in this facility when I advised Miller Co. staff that I was a Muslim therefore Pork-free.” Plaintiff also states for the first time: “On the same note my meals are being prepared by the same hands that serve and prepare the pork and beans which is not HALAL. My meals shouldn’t even be prepared in the same area as any pork products. Furthermore can you please send me the address I need to write A.D.C. so I can address this issue with them as well.” ECF No. 33-4. The next day Defendant Brazell responded: “Duplicate Already answered. No one in this facility [k]new anything about you being a Muslim until you wrote your first grievance recently. There is no record of you notifying us during the book-in process.”

On May 18, 2013 Plaintiff filed another grievance stating: “The preparation of my food when pork is being served should not be at the hands of the same person(s) that are serving the pork. That is not HALAL for I am a Muslim inmate here at the Miller County jail. Preparation of my food shouldn’t even be in the same area as the preparation of the pork products unless that area has been sanitized. Furthermore my tray shouldn’t be kept in the same warming cart or served by any inmate or officer that is serving and/or handling the pork products. This is illegal and it shouldn’t take place here the Miller County jail.” ECF No. 33-4.

On May 19, 2013 Plaintiff filed his last grievance claiming for the first time “salami that came from Tyson had pork in it which is why Miller County switched to Janni-O turkey products and also the pork & beans have PORK. I have already filed my 1983 civil suit against Miller County and the truth will eventually prevail. The truth being you violated my religious rights by serving me pork for 2 months. The only thing that didn’t contain pork was the juice packages. But the meat and pork and bean did.” ...


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