leave to amend to remove the District of Columbia Department of Corrections as a party defendant, to clarify that the individual defendants are being sued in their official capacity, and to delete the claim arising out of the loss or theft of Plaintiff's personal property when he was transferred from one to another facility. Defendants only opposition to this motion is that an amended complaint would be futile because the claims that would remain are not viable as evidenced by the Defendants' motion to dismiss/ summary judgment.
Plaintiff makes the following claims. First, Plaintiff claims violations of his 5th and 8th Amendments rights and his rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, as well as violations of the conditions of a Consent Order. These claims are based on the terms of Plaintiff's confinement in protective custody at the Maximum Security Prison. Second, Plaintiff claims violations of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act ("RFRA"), the First Amendment, and 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Third, Plaintiff claims violations of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fifth Amendment based on Christian inmates receiving more favorable treatment.
From August 1993 through June 14, 1994 Plaintiff resided in Cellblock 5 of the Maximum Security Facility. Plaintiff was not assigned to this facility for disciplinary reasons, but was there at his own request having requested to be placed in protective custody. Prisoners at the Maximum Security facility have the highest level of custody in the District of Columbia's prison system. Among others, the Maximum Security facility consists of prisoners who are disciplinary problems or who pose a threat to other prisoners or who request protective custody, such as Plaintiff. In this facility, prisoners are confined to their cells twenty-three hours a day, with a few exceptions. Plaintiff complains about the restrictive nature of his confinement. He also alleges that he does not have sufficient reading materials nor appropriate winter clothing.
Plaintiff as a follower of the Moorish Science Temple of America, Inc. religion ("MSTAI") also complains about burdens on his religious freedom rights. Plaintiff has been the Grand Sheik of the religion which is supposed to meet twice a week, on Fridays and Sundays, for fellowship and to reaffirm their religious beliefs.
While Plaintiff was in Maximum Security, the administrators imposed a new policy for Maximum Security cellblocks. The policy restricts the number of prisoners who may gather together at one time to ten or twelve depending on the cellblock. In Cellblock 5, where Plaintiff resided, the rule limited the group to ten prisoners. The "10/12" Rule applies to all regularly-scheduled prisoner activities, including group prayer. Pursuant to a January 4, 1993 memorandum to Warden David Roach from Willie Ceasar, the Chaplain of the prison, residents housed on the right side of the cellblocks would be permitted to attend activities involving religious services only on odd-numbered weeks, and the residents housed on the left side would be permitted to attend religious services only on even-numbered weeks.
Plaintiff contends that due to the "10/12" rule, he missed numerous prayer sessions and was not permitted to fulfill his official duties as the Grand Sheik of MSTAI. He also contends that Christians were treated more favorably in that the "10/12" rule was not applied to them.
MOTION TO DISMISS, OR IN THE ALTERNATIVE, FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
MOTION TO DISMISS STANDARDS:
In ruling on a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, the Court must accept as true each of the allegations in the complaint. The motion should not be granted unless it appears that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts entitling him to the relief sought in the complaint. See, e.g. Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46, 2 L. Ed. 2d 80, 78 S. Ct. 99 (1977).
SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARDS:
Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c), summary judgment "shall be rendered forthwith if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Mere allegations or denials of the adverse party's pleadings are not enough to prevent issuance of summary judgment. The adverse party's response to the summary judgment motion must "set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial."
The Supreme Court set forth the governing standards for issuance of summary judgment in Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 91 L. Ed. 2d 265, 106 S. Ct. 2548 (1986). In Celotex, the Supreme Court recognized the vital role that summary judgment motions play in the fair and efficient functioning of the judicial system:
Summary judgment procedure is properly regarded not as a disfavored procedural shortcut, but rather as an integral part of the Federal Rules as a whole, which are designed "to secure the just, speedy and inexpensive determination of every action." Fed. Rule Civ. Proc. 1. . . .
Rule 56 must be construed with due regard not only for the rights of persons asserting claims and defenses that are adequately based in fact to have those claims and defenses tried to a jury, but also for the rights of persons opposing such claims and defenses to demonstrate in the manner provided by the Rule, prior to trial, that the claims and defenses have no factual basis.