United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Western Division
following Recommended Disposition (âRecommendationâ) has been
sent to United States District Judge Billy Roy Wilson. 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 the date of this Recommendation.
If you do not file objections, Judge Wilson can adopt this
Recommendation without independently reviewing all of the
evidence in the record. By not objecting, you may waive the
right to appeal questions of fact.
Bassillio Nesby (“Nesby”) filed this pro
se action alleging that, while he was incarcerated at
the Faulkner County Detention Center (“FCDC”),
Defendants violated his rights under the First Amendment, the
Religious Freedom Reformation Act (“RFRA”), and
the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, 42
U.S.C. § 2000cc-1 (“RLUIPA”).
6, 2018, the Court dismissed: (1) Nesby's RFRA claim; and
(2) his claims against Defendants in their official
capacities. Docs. 10 & 13. In his remaining
First Amendment and RLUIPA claims, Nesby specifically alleges
that: (1) Defendant Sheriff Tim Ryals (“Ryals”)
refused his requests to arrange a visit with a spiritual
advisor from the Jehovah's Witnesses; and (2) Defendants
Ryals, Captain Chris Riedmueller (“Riedmueller”),
Lieutenant Scott Huffman (“Huffman”), and
Sergeant Bobbie Spivey (“Spivey”) denied his
requests “for spiritual counsel” and to
“study with [his] religious sect.” He seeks only
monetary damages for the individual capacity claims he has
asserted against Defendants. Docs. 1 &
February 12, 2019, Defendants filed a Motion for Summary
Judgment, a Brief in Support, and a Statement of Facts.
Docs. 24, 25 & 26. Although notified of his right to
file a Response, Nesby has not done so. See Doc. 27.
Thus, the issues are joined and ready for disposition.
addressing the merits of Defendants' Motion for Summary
Judgment, the Court will summarize the relevant facts, all of
which are undisputed.
October 18, 2017, Nesby was booked into the FCDC for a parole
violation. Doc. 26, Ex. A-1 at 2 & 7
an undated intake questionnaire, he indicated his religious
preference as “Jehovah Witness.” Id. at
October 20, 2017, Nesby filed a grievance stating:
“Need to set up a bible study with the local Jehovah
Witnesses. Can you contact the kingdom hall … in
Faulkner County. I need bible publications and
prayer.” Doc. 26, Ex. A-2 at 32
October 21, 2017, he filed a grievance stating: “Would
like to set up bible study with the local Jehovah Witness
a.s.a.p. Thank you.” Id. at. 31.
October 23, 2017, Defendant Huffman responded to both
grievances, stating that he would forward Nesby's
requests to the chaplains. Id. at 31-32.
October 26, 2017, Nesby filed a grievance stating:
This is the second request to have the local Jehovah
Witnesses to meet with me so I can start a bible study and
receive the proper study materials that I need for my R.P. I
had hoped this request would have been met with urgency since
this is a fundamental right of mine. Can you whomever I am
addressing resolve this matter in a timely fashion concerning
it has already been a week in counting. There should be no
reason for this matter to prolong any longer. Thank you.
Id. at 29. The same day, Defendant Huffman
responded: “I will send a text to our Chaplains and
address this now.” Id.
October 31, 2017, Nesby filed a grievance, addressed to the
attention of Defendant Riedmueller, which stated: “This
will be the 3rd grievance/request for a Jehovah Witness bible
study which I have been here going on three weeks and I have
heard nothing concerning this issue.” Id. at
26. On November 3, 2017, Defendant Huffman responded:
“I have made the chaplains aware of your
November 3, 2017, Nesby filed a grievance stating:
Section 21 of the Faulkner County inmate rules and regulation
states that inmates are allowed a one hour visit from a
religious sect of his choice. I study with the Jehovah
Witnesses, therefore, I would like for a study to be set up
on my behalf. Thank you. Any further delay in this matter can
only resolve with me filing a ACT 1983 FORM for I have
exhausted the remedies by submitting 4 grievances in the
order stated. 1. To the grievances officer/chaplain. 2. To
the staff corporal. 3. To the staff Lt. Huffman. 4. To Capt.
Id. at 24. The same day, Defendant Huffman
responded: “As stated previously, the Chaplains are
aware of your request.” Id.
November 12, 2017, Nesby filed a grievance stating:
“Would like to study with Jehovah Witnesses.”
Id. at 22. On November 16, Defendant Spivey
responded that ...