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Smith v. Lind

United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin

February 27, 2017

WALTER SMITH, Plaintiff,
v.
BETH LIND, et al., Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          STEPHEN L. CROCKER Magistrate Judge

         In this court's October 24, 2016 order (dkt. 36) on defendants' May 3, 2016 motion to dismiss (dkt. 16), I permitted pro se plaintiff Walter Smith to proceed on five claims related to the adequacy of Ramadan meal bags, the availability of proper foods for the Eid-ul-Fitr feast, the adequacy of the halal diet, and the availability of Islamic services and study groups.

         The defendants promptly filed a motion to dismiss most-but not all-of Smith's remaining claims on exhaustion grounds (dkt. 39). Defendants seek dismissal of all of the claims except for the halal diet claim because: (1) Smith failed to file the required DOC-2075 form prior to submitting his grievances related to these claims, and (2) the 2008 Eid-ul-Fitr feast claim is untimely. Id. I am granting this motion as to the Islamic services and study group and 2008 Eid-ul-Fitr feast claims, but denying it as to the Ramadan meal bag and 2009 Eid-ul-Fitr claims.

         Also, this lawsuit currently is set for jury selection and trial on July 17, 2017 trial, but in light of the dismissal motions, that will have to be moved back. I am striking the remaining dates and setting a telephonic conference to reschedule this case.

         BACKGROUND

         I. DOC 2075 Form

         An inmate seeking new or additional religious practices or property items that are not currently offered at his facility of assignment must file a form DOC-2075. (See dkt. 41-1.) That form instructs inmates that:

If you want to start a new religious practice activity that is not offered at the facility now [and] that involves other offenders, affects your physical appearance or [affects] the operation of the facility, you need to complete this form and send it to the Chaplain/Superintendent requesting permission as required by DOC 309.61, Wis. Admin. Code.

Id.

         Requests made pursuant to a form DOC-2075 are directed to the unit chaplain or his designee. The chaplain may make a recommendation to his supervisor, which is then forwarded to the Religious Practice Advisory Committee (“RPAC”) Executive Committee. The RPAC Executive Committee considers the recommendation, and the warden makes the final decision on the request. Denials pertaining to DOC-2075 requests must be appealed to the Inmate Complaint Review System (“ICRS”).

         II. Ramadan Meal Bag

         Smith claims that the Ramadan meal bags made him sick because they are cold and unhealthy, in violation of his First and Eighth Amendment rights and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (“RLUIPA”), 42 U.S.C. § 2000cc-2(b). While he did not submit any DOC-2075 forms requesting a change in the meal bags, Smith did file inmate complaints that the Ramadan meal bags were making him sick in 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011.

         ICE received Smith's 2008 complaint on November 18, 2008. (WCI-2008-29818, dkts. 25-14, 42-1.) This complaint was dismissed because HSU staff did not believe that the meal bags were causing Smith's symptoms and because the Chaplain indicated that Smith need not follow Ramadan's fasting requirement due to medical issues. (Dkt. 25-20.) Smith appealed that decision, which was also dismissed. (Dkts. 25-20, 25-21.)

         Smith filed the same complaint in 2009. (WCI-2009-22173, dkt. 46-2.) ICE rejected it on the ground that his complaint had been addressed in Smith's previous inmate complaint on the issue, WCI-2007-29446. (Dkt. 46-2.) The rejection directed Smith to contact HSU with his medical issues. Smith requested review of the rejection, and that was denied.

         Smith submitted the same complaint in 2010. (WCI-2010-17684, dkt. 46-4.) ICE received it on August 25, 2010, and again rejected it on the ground that his 2007 complaint addressed this issue by directing him to contact HSU with his medical ...


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