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Clark v. Foxwell

United States District Court, D. Maryland

November 1, 2018

HADDEN CLARK[1] Plaintiff
v.
WARDEN RICKY FOXWELL Defendant

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          RICHARD D. BENNETT, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Hadden Clark, an inmate committed to the custody of Maryland's Division of Correction and confined at Eastern Correctional Institution (ECI) in Westover, Maryland, filed this civil rights suit alleging his right to freely practice his religion has been infringed. ECF 1. In response, Defendant Warden Ricky Foxwell filed a Motion to Dismiss or for Summary Judgment. ECF 18. Plaintiff opposes the motion. ECF 20. No. hearing is necessary to determine the matters pending before the Court. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2016). For the reasons that follow, Defendant's motion, construed as a Motion for Summary Judgment, shall be granted and Plaintiffs pending Motions for Appropriate Relief (ECF 21 and 23) shall be denied.

         Background

         Plaintiff claims that following his transfer from Western Correctional Institution to ECI he was not permitted to receive Kosher meals which is required by his Jewish faith. He states that on a number of occasions items were missing from his meal tray and complains that he was provided with a vegetarian meal instead of a Kosher meal. He alleges he should not be provided a vegetarian meal as he does not follow a vegetarian diet. ECF 1-1 at pp. 1-2. He attaches to his complaint four administrative remedy procedure complaints (ARPs). ECF 1-1 at pp. 3-8. None of the ARPs include a response and three contain notations that they were dismissed for procedural reasons. Id. In one of his ARPs, ECI-0966-17, Plaintiff claims that on April 12, 2017, he was told by Chaplain Khattak that Plaintiff is not Jewish and that is why he was not provided with a Kosher meal in observance of Passover. ECF 1-1 at p. 3.

         On April 13, 2017, Plaintiff claims he was missing items from his lunch tray and when he asked the tier officer to call the kitchen, a message was relayed to him from Chaplain Khattak by Officer Holland. ECF 1-1 at p. 4. Plaintiff alleges that Khattak[2] told Holland that if Plaintiff did not like what the kitchen provides, Plaintiff should sign off of the Kosher diet. Id. Plaintiff states that this response violates the ECI handbook which assures he can practice the religion of his choice. Id.

         On April 14, 2017, Plaintiff claimed in ARP ECI-0931-17 that he was not being allowed to celebrate Jewish holidays and therefore could not practice the religion of his choice. ECF 1-1 at p. 5.

         On April 17, 2017, Plaintiff claims he did not get all of his food for lunch or dinner. ECF 1-1 at p. 2.

         On April 18, 2017, Plaintiff claims he did not get all of his food, that the eggs were not cooked properly, and his tray did not have "Kosher tape" on it. Id.

         On May 3, 3017, Plaintiff alleges he did not get all of his food. Id.

         On May 7, 2017. Plaintiff claims that other inmates put feces in his food. Id.

         On June 7. 2017. Plaintiff states that the dietary department at ECI tried to get him to sign off of the Kosher meal plan. Id. The following day, he claims he again did not receive all of his food. Id.

         On October 18, 2017, Plaintiff complains that he was given vegetarian meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Id. He claims that Sgt. Wilson called the dietary officer and Wilson was informed that the Kosher meals are the same as the vegetarian meals. ECF 1-1 at pp. 2, 8.

         On October 26, 2017, Plaintiff states he was told by Officer Holland that Kosher inmates get the same diet as vegetarian inmates. Id. at p. 2.

         As relief, Plaintiff seeks to be reimbursed for the filing fee associated with this case and for compensatory damages against Warden Foxwell in the amount of 45 thousand dollars. ECF 1 at p. 3. Alternatively, Plaintiff seeks a transfer via the Interstate Corrections Compact (ICC) to New Hampshire. Id.

         Defendant states that Plaintiff was transferred to ECI on January 13, 2017, and on January 29, 2017, requested to be placed on a Kosher diet. ECF 18 at Ex. 2. Plaintiff began receiving a Kosher diet on February 1, 2017. Id. at Ex. 2, Ex. 3.

         Defendant explains that Kosher meals include fish and vegetarian food, but if there is no fish being served the meal is entirely vegetarian. ECF 18 at Ex. 2. He further states that there is no requirement for meat or fish to be included in a Kosher diet. Id.

         For Passover, inmates on the Kosher meal plan receive a Seder plate on the first two nights of Passover. Id. Khattak arranged for ECI Jewish inmates to receive a Seder plate beginning April 10, 2017. Id. Plaintiff received a Seder plate. Id. There are ...


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