United States District Court, E.D. Texas, Tyler Division
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF UNITED
STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Clark Senior District Judge
above entitled and numbered civil action was referred to
United States Magistrate Judge John D. Love pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 636. On March 14, 2019, the Magistrate Judge
issued his Report and Recommendation (Doc. No. 156),
recommending that Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment
(Doc. No. 152) be granted and that Defendants Thomas Taylor
and Mark Sandlin be dismissed without prejudice for lack of
subject matter jurisdiction due to absence of a case or
controversy. Plaintiff Michael Peters
(“Plaintiff”), who is proceeding pro se,
filed objections (Doc. No. 159), which stated, among other
arguments, that Plaintiff was never served with a copy of
Defendants' Motion. Accordingly, the Court issued an
order permitting Plaintiff to file supplemental objections
after having an opportunity to review Defendants'
original Motion. (Doc. No. 162.) On April 8, 2019, Plaintiff
filed his supplemental objections (Doc. No.166). The Court
reviews de novo the portions of the Magistrate
Judge's findings to which objections have been raised. 28
U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). Having reviewed the Magistrate
Judge's findings and Plaintiff's objections, the
Court OVERRULES Plaintiff's objections
(Doc. No.159) and supplemental objections (Doc. No. 166) and
ADOPTS the Magistrate Judge's Report and
Recommendation (Doc. No. 156) as the findings of the Court.
Court reviews objected-to portions of the Magistrate
Judge's Report and Recommendation de novo.
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 72; 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)
(“A judge of the court shall make a de novo
determination of those portions of the report or specified
proposed findings and recommendations to which objection is
made.”). A court conducting a de novo review
examines the entire record and makes an independent
assessment under the law. Douglass v. United States Auto.
Ass'n, 79 F.3d 1415, 1430 (5th Cir. 1996) (en banc),
superseded by statute on other grounds, 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b)(1) (extending the time to file objections from
ten to fourteen days).
filed this action originally alleging various claims against
various parties. (Doc. No. 1.) Subsequently, the Court
entered an Order of Partial Dismissal (Doc. No. 107), which
dismissed several of Plaintiff's claims and narrowed the
scope of the instant action. The only remaining claim is
Plaintiff's claim pursuant to the Religious Land Use and
Institutionalized Persons Act (“RLUIPA”) against
Defendants Lorie Davis, Thomas Taylor, and Mark Sandlin.
(Doc. No. 107, at 12.) In his Report and Recommendation, the
Magistrate Judge recommended dismissing Defendants Thomas
Taylor and Mark Sandlin without prejudice due to lack of
subject matter jurisdiction. (Doc. No. 156.) Specifically,
the Magistrate Judge found that there is no genuine dispute
as to any material fact regarding Defendants Taylor and
Sandlin's power and authority to transfer Plaintiff to a
facility with a kosher kitchen. Accordingly, the Magistrate
Judge found that Plaintiff failed to establish the existence
of a case or controversy redressable by Defendants Taylor and
Original Objections (Doc. No. 159)
original objections (Doc. No. 159), Plaintiff raises several
arguments. First, Plaintiff argues that the Court has failed
to address Plaintiff's other allegations, including:
assault, neglect of said assault being investigated, legal
mail theft, confiscation of Plaintiff's law books,
retaliation, medical neglect and abuse, the State's
cover-up and retaliation for exposing racketeering crimes of
the State; and discrimination. (Doc. No. 159, at 1-2.) For
reasons stated in the Court's prior Order, these claims
have already been dismissed. (Doc. No. 107.) Accordingly, it
is unnecessary for the Court to further address these claims.
Plaintiff argues he never received Defendants' Motion and
accordingly was unable to file a timely response. (Doc. No.
159, at 2.) Defendants have certified that another copy of
the Motion has been sent to Plaintiff. (Doc. No. 161.)
Accordingly, the Court provided Plaintiff an opportunity to
submit supplemental objections. (Doc. No. 162.) Plaintiff has
since filed supplemental objections. (Doc. No. 166.)
Accordingly, the Court finds that Plaintiff has been provided
adequate notice and an opportunity to respond to both
Defendants' Motion and the Magistrate Judge's Report
Plaintiff argues that Plaintiff is not able to adequately
respond to Defendants' Motion because he has had law
books confiscated and lacks access to adequate legal
resources. (Doc. No. 159, at 2.) Indeed, while prisoners have
certain rights pertaining to access to the courts, these
rights do not afford prisoners a right to unlimited access to
prison law libraries. Jones v. Greninger, 188 F.3d
322, 325-26 (5th Cir. 1999). Prisons may regulate access to
law libraries so long as the regulations are reasonably
related to legitimate penological interests. Id.
Plaintiff has not shown he was denied adequate access to the
Plaintiff argues that he has satisfied the requirements for
constitutional standing set out in Lujan v. Defs. of
Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555 (1992). First, Plaintiff argues
he has suffered an injury, as he assets his First Amendment
rights have been violated because he has been unable to
attend Jewish religious services and is not provided a Kosher
diet in accordance with Jewish law. (Doc. No. 159, at 4.)
Plaintiff further argues that denial of Plaintiff's right
to practice his religion (i.e. attend services or maintain a
Kosher diet) is causally related to the First Amendment
violation he claims he suffers. (Doc. No. 159, at 5.)
Plaintiff also cites the redressability prong of
Lujan. (Doc. No. 159, at 5.) Plaintiff also
addresses the merits of his claims. Plaintiff argues that
prisons must provide prisoners a reasonable opportunity to
meet with religious clergy of their faith, wear religious
headgear, and accommodate prisoners' religious diets.
(Doc. No. 159, at 5-6.) Plaintiff further argues that the
Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits
prisons from discriminating on the basis of religion. (Doc.
No. 159, at 6-7.) Plaintiff argues this Court has
jurisdiction because Defendant Taylor completed paperwork
regarding Plaintiff's religious status, which in turn was
provided to Defendant Sandlin to process a transfer based on
Plaintiff's religious status. (Doc. No. 159, at 8-9.)
Plaintiff argues this conduct led to the denial of
Plaintiff's transfer to a unit with a Kosher kitchen and
therefore is the basis of this cause of action. Plaintiff
argues that Defendants Taylor and Sandlin provided
information to the Unit Classification Committee (UCC) and
State Classification Committee (SCC), which in turn was
relied upon to deny Plaintiff his constitutional rights.
(Doc. No. 159, at 9.) Plaintiff argues that Defendants Taylor
and Sandlin knew the information they provided would be used
to violate Plaintiff's constitutional rights. (Doc. No.
159, at 9.)
original objections (Doc. No. 159) do not address the basis
upon which the Magistrate Judge recommended dismissal-namely
that Defendants Taylor and Sandlin lack authority to transfer
Plaintiff to a unit with a Kosher kitchen and therefore are
unable to redress Plaintiff's alleged injuries.
Accordingly, Plaintiff's original objections (Doc. No.
159) are overruled.
Supplemental Objections (Doc. No. 166)
Court now turns to Plaintiff's supplemental objections
(Doc. No. 166). As discussed, supra, the Court
permitted Plaintiff to file supplemental objections because
he claimed he was not served a copy of Defendants'
Motion. (Doc. No. 162.) Plaintiff was served with a copy of
Defendants' Motion prior to submitting his ...