United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Pine Bluff Division
MICHAEL A. DUNCAN ADC #111386 PLAINTIFF
ARKEAMA JOHNSON DEFENDANT
PROPOSED FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION
following Recommendation has been sent to United States
District Judge James M. Moody Jr. You may file written
objections to all or part of this Recommendation. If you do
so, those objections must: (1) specifically explain the
factual and/or legal basis for your objection, and (2) be
received by the Clerk of this Court within fourteen (14) days
of this Recommendation. By not objecting, you may waive the
right to appeal questions of fact.
Michael A. Duncan filed this pro se 42 U.S.C. §
1983 action alleging that he was denied access to the chapel
library, that he was forced to attend a chapel service not of
his faith, and that he was unable to practice his religion
while confined at the Pine Bluff Unit of the Arkansas
Department of Correction (ADC) (Doc. Nos. 2, 4 & 24).
Duncan has since been released. See Doc. No. 43.
Duncan's claims against Wendy Kelley, Gaylon Lay, and
Dexter McDonell were previously dismissed for failure to
exhaust administrative remedies. See Doc. Nos. 53
& 55. The only remaining defendant is Lt. Arkeama
the Court is a motion for summary judgment and related
pleadings filed by Johnson (Doc. Nos. 65-67). Duncan filed a
response (Doc. No. 69), and Johnson filed a reply (Doc. No.
70). For the reasons described herein, the undersigned
recommends that Johnson's motion for summary judgment be
Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, summary
judgment is proper if “the movant shows that there is
no genuine dispute as to any material fact and that the
moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of
law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); Celotex v. Catrett,
477 U.S. 317, 321 (1986). When ruling on a motion for summary
judgment, the court must view the evidence in a light most
favorable to the nonmoving party. Naucke v. City of Park
Hills, 284 F.3d 923, 927 (8th Cir. 2002). The nonmoving
party may not rely on allegations or denials, but must
demonstrate the existence of specific facts that create a
genuine issue for trial. Mann v. Yarnell, 497 F.3d
822, 825 (8th Cir. 2007). The nonmoving party's
allegations must be supported by sufficient probative
evidence that would permit a finding in his favor on more
than mere speculation, conjecture, or fantasy. Id.
(citations omitted). An assertion that a fact cannot be
disputed or is genuinely disputed must be supported by
materials in the record such as “depositions,
documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or
declarations, stipulations (including those made for purposes
of the motion only), admissions, interrogatory answers, or
other materials . . .”. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A). A
party may also show that a fact is disputed or undisputed by
“showing that the materials cited do not establish the
absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or that an adverse
party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the
fact.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(B). A dispute is genuine
if the evidence is such that it could cause a reasonable jury
to return a verdict for either party; a fact is material if
its resolution affects the outcome of the case. Othman v.
City of Country Club Hills, 671 F.3d 672, 675
(8th Cir. 2012). Disputes that are not genuine or that are
about facts that are not material will not preclude summary
judgment. Sitzes v. City of West Memphis, Ark., 606
F.3d 461, 465 (8th Cir. 2010).
is of the Messianic faith. Doc. No. 2 at 3. On September 9,
2017, Duncan went to Chapel Call expecting to go to the Pine
Bluff Unit Chapel Library. Doc. No. 2 at 3; Doc. No. 61 at 1
(Duncan's Response to Request for Admission No. 1). While
at Chapel Call, a chapel service began. Doc. No. 2 at 3. Lt.
Johnson informed Duncan that he could not go to the Chapel
Library during services but must go either before or after
the services. Doc. No. 61 at 2 (Duncan's Response to
Request for Admission No. 4); Doc. No. 2 at 3. The Pine Bluff
Unit Chapel Rules provide that no inmate may be in the Chapel
Library or other offices while a service is in progress. Doc.
No. 65-2 (Pine Bluff Unit Chapel Rules); Doc. No. 61 at 2
(Duncan's Response to Request for Admission No. 4). Lt.
Johnson informed Duncan that he could not sit in the library
due to security reasons. Doc. No. 2 at 9. Duncan told Lt.
Johnson that he wanted to go to the Chapel Library because
the services were not Messianic, and his request was denied.
Doc. No. 2 at 3. Duncan also asked to return to his barracks
but was told he must go to the chapel service or be locked
remained in the chapel for the duration of the chapel
service. Id. The chapel service lasted no longer
than one hour. Doc. No. 61 at 2 (Duncan's Response to
Request for Admission No. 8). Duncan's only participation
in the chapel service was his physical presence in the
chapel. Doc. No. 61 at 3 (Duncan's Response to Request
for Admission No. 9).
the incident occurred, Chaplain Dexter McDonnell informed
Duncan that the “good order of the institution”
requires that inmates cannot “simply go back to the
barrack” if they come to chapel services. Doc. No. 2 at
6. In September 2017, ADC Policy 120 governed the general
conduct of religious services within ADC Units. Doc. No. 65-1
(ADC Policy 120). ADC Policy 120 states that “[i]t is
the policy of the [ADC] to provide those incarcerated in its
care the greatest amount of freedom and opportunity to pursue
individual religious beliefs and practices as is consistent
with the safety of inmates and staff alike, the good order of
the institution and accepted correctional practices.”