United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Hot Springs Division
HOLMES, III, CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
proceeds in this matter pro se and in forma
pauperis pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Currently
before the Court is Defendants' Motion for Summary
Judgment. (ECF No. 58.).
filed his Complaint on August 31, 2016. (ECF No. 1).
Plaintiff is a member of the Wiccan religion and alleges his
constitutional rights under the First and Fourteenth
Amendments, as well as his rights under the Religious Land
Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), were violated
while incarcerated at the Arkansas Department of Correction
(“ADC”) Ouachita River Unit. (“ORU”).
Specifically, he alleges the denial and confiscation of his
Wiccan Bible and Book of Grimoires, the lack of paid Wiccan
religious leaders on staff with the ADC, and the requirement
that an approved volunteer supervise Wiccan religious
services violate his constitutional rights. (Id. at
5-36). Plaintiff also alleges that these violations are the
“direct result” of Ark Code. § 16-123-401.
(Id. at 9).
January 11, 2017, Defendants Bennett, Faust, Gillion, Kelley
King, Musselwhite, and Payne filed a Motion to Dismiss for
Failure to State a Claim. (ECF No. 12). On August 27, 2017,
the Court entered an Order granting in part and denying in
part the Motion to Dismiss. (ECF No. 27). Plaintiff's
official capacity prospective injunctive relief claims
concerning his Wiccan Bible and Book of Grimoires, RLUIPA and
First Amendment Free Expression Claims regarding his Wiccan
Bible and Book of Grimoires, and his Fourteenth Amendment Due
Process Claim regarding his Book of Grimoires remained for
further consideration. Review of Plaintiff's Ark. Code
§ 16-123-401 claim was deferred pending consideration of
his federal claims. (Id. at 23-25).
December 21, 2017, the Court entered an Order granting
Plaintiff's Motion to add Defendant Littleton, Vent and
Jackson as Defendants in the case in place of the previous
John and Jane Doe ORU Publication Review Committee
Defendants. (ECF No. 41). On April 13, 2018, the Court
entered an Order adding Defendants Dyer and Alford in place
of the Jane Doe ORU Mailroom Officer Defendant. (ECF No. 54).
29, 2018, Defendants filed the current Motion for Summary
Judgment. (ECF No. 58). On July 2, 2018, the Court entered an
Order directing Plaintiff to respond to the Motion, which he
did on August 20, 2018. (ECF Nos. 64, 67-69).
argue they are entitled to summary judgment in this case
because: 1) Plaintiff's claims for injunctive relief
against Defendants Faust, Jackson, Gillion, Musselwhite,
King, Bennett, Littleton, Dyer, and Alford are now moot; 2)
Plaintiff failed to establish any violation of his
constitutional rights, or rights under RLUIPA; and 3)
Defendant are entitled to qualified immunity because
Plaintiff failed to establish any violations of his
constitutional rights or rights under RLUIPA. (ECF No. 58 at
1-2). Defendants further argue that because they are entitled
to summary judgment, the Court should decline to exercise
supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiff's Ark. Code
§ 16-123-401 claim. (Id. at 2).
judgment is appropriate if, after viewing the facts and all
reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the
nonmoving party, Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith
Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986), the record
"shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any
material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). "Once a party
moving for summary judgment has made a sufficient showing,
the burden rests with the non-moving party to set forth
specific facts, by affidavit or other evidence, showing that
a genuine issue of material fact exists.” National
Bank of Commerce v. Dow Chemical Co., 165 F.3d 602, 607
(8th Cir. 1999).
non-moving party "must do more than simply show that
there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material
facts." Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 586. "They
must show there is sufficient evidence to support a jury
verdict in their favor." National Bank, 165
F.3d at 607 (citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,
477 U.S. 242, 249 (1986)). "A case founded on
speculation or suspicion is insufficient to survive a motion
for summary judgment." Id. (citing, Metge
v. Baehler, 762 F.2d 621, 625 (8th Cir. 1985)).
“When opposing parties tell two different stories, one
of which is blatantly contradicted by the record, so that no
reasonable jury could believe it, a court should not adopt
that version of the facts for purposes of ruling on a motion
for summary judgment.” Scott v. Harris, 550
U.S. 372, 380 (2007).
Official Capacity Claims for Prospective Injunctive Relief
Against Ouachita River Unit Employees Faust, Jackson,
Gillion, Musselwhite, King, Bennett, Vent, Littleton, Dyer
Plaintiff filed his Complaint while he was incarcerated in
the ADC Ouachita River Unit and his allegations concerned
issues which occurred within the Ouachita River Unit. (ECF
No. 1 at 2). On October 19, 2017, he was transferred to the
ADC Varner Unit. Defendants Faust, Jackson, Gilliom,
Musselwhite, King, Bennett, Vent, Littleton, Dyer and Alford
are employed at the Ouachita River Unit. Their power and
authority to act is thus limited to the Ouachita River Unit.
(ECF No. 59 at 11). Plaintiff's transfer to the Varner
Unit therefore rendered his Complaint and request for
prospective injunctive relief against these Defendants moot.
See Smith v. Hundley, 190 F.3d 852, 855 (8th Cir.
1999) (holding an inmate's First Amendment claims
regarding denial of items to perform religious practices moot
once he was transferred from one state penitentiary facility
to another state penitentiary facility). See also Martin
v. Sargent,780 F.2d 1334, 1337 (8th Cir. 1985) (holding
an inmate's claims regarding prison conditions were moot
once the inmate was transferred and no longer subject to