United States District Court, D. Maryland
CRAIG S. BROOKS, Plaintiff
WARDEN FRANK B. BISHOP, JR., et al., Defendants
W. GRIMM UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Craig S. Brooks filed this civil rights action, alleging that
Defendants violated his rights under the Free
Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S.
Constitution and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized
Persons Act (“RLUIPA”), 42 U.S.C. § 2000cc
et seq. ECF No. 1. Defendants have filed a Motion to
Dismiss or, in the Alternative, for Summary Judgment, along
with a Memorandum in Support, ECF Nos. 17, 17-2, and Brooks
has filed an Opposition, ECF No. 33. Brooks also filed
several documents that were docketed as
“Supplements” to the Complaint; each includes
declarations and/or other evidence in support of his claims.
ECF Nos. 24, 25, 26, 27, 35, 39. And, he filed a “Rule
56(d) Motion” and “Declaration/Affidavit, ”
which also was docketed as a “Supplement.”
Pl.'s Rule 56(d) Mot. & Decl., ECF No. 31. The Rule
56(d) Motion includes additional argument in opposition to
Defendants' dispositive motion. Defendants filed an
Opposition to Plaintiff's Rule 56(d) Motion. Defs.'
Opp'n to Rule 56(d) Mot. & Decl., ECF No. 32.
have filed a Motion to Strike one of Plaintiff's
Supplements (ECF No. 35), ECF No. 36, and Brooks filed an
Opposition, ECF No. 38. Additionally, Brooks filed Motions
for Preliminary Injunction regarding his housing at WCI. ECF
Nos. 41 and 43. Defendants have responded, ECF No. 44, and
Brooks has replied, ECF No. 46.
matters are now ripe for review. The Court finds a hearing in
these matters unnecessary. See Loc. R. 105.6 (D. Md.
2018). For the reasons that follow, Plaintiff's Rule
56(d) Motion is DENIED, Defendants' Motion to Strike is
DENIED as moot, Defendants' dispositive motion, construed
as a Motion for Summary Judgment, is GRANTED, and
Plaintiff's Motions for Injunctive Relief are DENIED.
a state inmate currently confined at the Western Correctional
Institution (“WCI”) in Cumberland, Maryland
alleges that in July of 2015, while he was incarcerated at
the North Branch Correctional Institution
(“NBCI”) in Cumberland, Maryland, his rights
under the First Amendment and RLUIPA were violated when
Warden Bishop cancelled daily Nation of Islam
(“NOI”) congregate services during Ramadan.
Compl. He also alleges that his rights were violated when NOI
members were not allowed to use the bathroom to cleanse
during congregate worship services and not provided NOI bag
meals with which to break their Ramadan fasting,
when officers questioned him about services. Id.
Brooks seeks compensatory and punitive damages as well as an
order requiring his transfer from the Cumberland region due
to his fears that staff will retaliate against him and abuse
him. Id. at 15.
“a supermax facility, with minimal space for group
activities.” Warden Bishop Decl. ¶ 2, ECF No.
17-6. The facility is divided into a North and South
compound, each of which has two housing units (segregation
unit and high security unit on the North compound and two
less restrictive units on the South compound) and a gym with
two small rooms adjoining it. Id. ¶¶ 2, 4;
Harbaugh Decl. ¶ 4, ECF No. 17-4.
2013 and 2014, NBCI was on lock down as the result of gang
warfare and multiple assaults to include stabbings of both
Inmates and staff members.” Harbaugh Decl. ¶ 4;
Warden Bishop Decl. “After the 18-month lock-down . . .
positive results” were observed, Warden Bishop Decl.
¶ 4, including that the Security Threat Groups
(“STG”) and NOI “had been somewhat
stabilized, ” Harbaugh Decl. ¶ 7. Small group
religious study and services were reintroduced, including
separate weekly congregate services for Muslim inmates housed
on the North compound in Housing Unit 2, and separate weekly
congregate services on the South compound for those housed in
Housing Units 3 and 4. Harbaugh Decl. ¶ 4; Warden Bishop
Decl. ¶ 4.
is a member of the Nation of Islam (“NOI”).
Captain Jason Harbaugh, the Intelligence Supervisor at NBCI
in 2015, and Kevin Lamp, the Chaplain at NBCI since 2007,
described NOI as a “gang like affinity group that
promotes racial and sexist hatred, ” Harbaugh Decl.
¶ 5, “including through its publication ‘The
Final Call, '” Chaplain Lamp Decl. ¶ 14, ECF
No. 17-5. According to Harbaugh, members of NOI “are
likely to retaliate” when one of their members
“is threatened or disrespected.” Harbaugh Decl.
¶ 5. He states that NOI members actively recruit new
members and “discourage[e] attrition” among their
ranks. Id. Harbaugh asserts that “members of
other STGs have been known to drop their affiliation and join
several requirements, and a failure to meet them would
constitute “a violation of religious edict.”
Chaplain Lamp Decl. ¶ 6. “Attending congregate
Ramadan services” is not a NOI requirement; rather,
attendance at congregate services “is a matter of an
individual's preference.” Id. Similarly,
while NOI requires the Ramadan fast, it recommends but does
not mandate any other specific practices for eating.
Id. ¶¶ 6, 11; “Final Call”
Foods to Avoid 1, January 16, 2014, ECF No. 17-7. NOI members
with available funds, who are not housed in Housing Unit 1,
may purchase items to eat outside of fasting times from the
commissary. Warden Bishop Decl. ¶ 10.
summer 2015, NBCI permitted daily NOI congregate services for
Ramadan that were open to inmates housed in all of the
housing units across the compound. Harbaugh Decl. ¶ 6;
Warden Bishop Decl. ¶ 4. At that time, all multipurpose
rooms on both the North and South compound were in use by
various religious groups for services. Chaplain Lamp Decl.
¶ 7. Conflicts between the various Muslim denominations
required each group to be assigned a space that was
“securely separated from the others.” Warden
Bishop Decl. ¶ 6. The restrooms open to the main gym and
are separated only by a half-door. Chaplain Lamp Decl. ¶
8. Given the number of inmates involved in the various Muslim
services taking place during the same time, the security of
the area, and the need to minimize disturbances with ongoing
religious services, a policy was established prohibiting
inmates from using the restroom during services. Chaplain
Lamp Decl. ¶ 8. Defendants state that, before the daily
Ramadan services began, “inmate Muslim leaders were
advised that service attendees would not be able to use the
restrooms during service time and could cleanse in their
cells.” Chaplain Lamp Decl. ¶ 9; Warden Bishop
Decl. ¶ 6. Brooks states that, after he challenged this
rule and the Commissioner overturned the Warden's
Administrative Remedy Procedure (“ARP”) denial,
NOI were allowed to use the bathroom during Saturday morning
services. Pl.'s Rule 56(d) Mot. & Decl. 20.
the introduction of combined services, “NOI membership
doubled.” Harbaugh Decl. ¶ 6; Chaplain Lamp Decl.
¶ 4; Warden Bishop Decl. ¶ 4; July 1, 2015 Harbaugh
Mem. to Warden Bishop, ECF No. 17-10, at 88. The number of
verified STG members within NOI “increased
substantially, ” and a high number of verified STG
members attended the daily congregate Ramadan services.
Harbaugh Decl. ¶ 6; Chaplain Lamp Decl. ¶ 4; Warden
Bishop Decl. ¶ 4. According to Harbaugh, attendance at
the NOI daily Ramadan congregate service by “the larger
mixed-security-level group” provided “an
opportunity for inmates to form new alliances, recruit new
members, and compete for position within gang hierarchies and
between gangs.” Harbaugh Decl. ¶ 7; see
also July 1, 2015 Harbaugh Mem. to Warden Bishop.
1, 2015, inmate Derrick Williams,  a member of NOI who
regularly attended NOI Ramadan services, stabbed inmate Dante
Jeter on the North compound. Harbaugh Decl. ¶ 8;
Chaplain Lamp Decl. ¶ 15; Department of Public Safety
and Correctional Services (“DPSCS”) IID Report of
Assault, ECF No. 17-9; Williams's Religious Preference
Registration Form 2, ECF No. 32-2. It is undisputed that the
stabbing did not occur at an NOI Ramadan service. Williams
and Jeter were both “verified members of an STG, the
Black Guerilla Family (‘BGF').” Harbaugh Decl.
¶ 8. Within hours of the stabbing, Warden Bishop ordered
Housing Unit 2, where Williams and Jeter were housed, locked
down and directed that inmates “be bag-fed for dinner
that day and breakfast the next day pending further
investigation.” Warden Bishop Decl. ¶ 8.
after the July 1, 2015 stabbing, the NBCI Intelligence
Department received a credible communication from a
confidential informant that the attack . . . was planned
during NOI daily Ramadan services.” Harbaugh Decl.
¶ 9. According to Harbaugh, the informant appeared to
have attempted, without success, to alert staff to the
planned attack prior to the stabbing. Id. “The
NBCI Intelligence Department also received multiple credible
reports that gang members and possibly others were routinely
conducting illicit activities during NOI daily Ramadan
services.” Id. ¶ 10. Based on this
information, on July 1, 2015, Harbaugh prepared a memorandum
to Warden Bishop regarding the concerns about NOI daily
Ramadan services. Id. ¶ 11; Warden Bishop Decl.
¶ 9. Harbaugh and Bishop met to discuss these concerns.
Harbaugh Decl. ¶ 12; Warden Bishop Decl. ¶ 9.
after the stabbing, after NOI Ramadan services concluded for
the night, Officers Hughes, Bowers and Thrasher instructed
Brooks to stand against the wall, where he was “grilled
in a semi-circle by (5) officers on what [he] was teaching
from the Final Call Newspaper, Holy Bible and Holy Qur'an
.…” Compl. 4. Brooks notes that the officers
questioned him about the service even though they had been
present for the entire service. Id. The following
day, Warden Bishop cancelled the daily congregate Ramadan
services for NOI, Warden Bishop Decl. ¶ 10, and Brooks
was advised, without explanation, that he would not be
permitted to lead services for the remaining days of Ramadan,
Compl. 4. Also, NOI members in the North and South compounds
were separated for weekly services. Harbaugh Decl. ¶ 18.
The separation interrupted channels of communication as well
as areas of conflict and reinstituted the pre-Ramadan
“division, which had been relatively stable.”
Harbaugh Decl. ¶ 18.
declares that “[i]t would not have been possible by the
end of Ramadan 2015 to conclude an investigation that would
have identified and allowed removal of dangerous NOI
participants from the NOI congregation.” Harbaugh Decl.
¶ 14. Brooks insists that Secretary of DPSCS Stephen
Moyer, as the supervisor of all of the other named
Defendants, and in his capacity as Secretary, would have been
able to review the video of the stabbing that occurred during
Ramadan and video of services to determine whether STG groups
were congregating in the area of the services area to
organize illicit activities. Compl. 10. And, asserting that
“[t]he members of the NOI . . . wear white or blue
shirts and bowties, ” Brooks contends that “[i]t
is the duty of the Chief of Security and Chaplin [sic] to
know the sincere believers of the faith and to ensure that
security and safety protocols are in place and religious
accommodations extend only to sincere believers.”
Id. at 11; see Pl.'s Rule 56(d) Mot.
& Decl. 22.
to Harbaugh, security cannot determine, simply based on the
clothing an inmate wears, whether he plans to participate in
an illicit activity or is a risk to the security of the
institution. Harbaugh Decl. ¶ 15. Similarly, “a
verified STG member may hold sincere religious beliefs and
may have presented no security threat in attending NOI daily
congregate services.” Id. ¶ 16. Not
knowing the extent of, or who participated in the illicit
activity, the continuation of “daily meetings of any
NOI groups presented an unreasonable risk of dangerous
activities.” Id. ¶ 18. According to
Harbaugh, the continuation of daily services after the
stabbing and information provided to the Intelligence
Department “would have increased tension and allowed
more opportunity for retaliation and other violence.”
Id. ¶ 17.
the NOI daily congregate Ramadan services were cancelled, NOI
inmates were not transported to post-sundown meal services,
due to a “misunderstanding.” Warden Bishop Decl.
¶ 11. As a result, “they did not receive
post-sundown meals” or the bagged “food that
would have served as their breakfast” the next day.
2015, Brooks regularly ordered food items through the prison
commissary. Commissary Items, ECF No. 17-8, at 2-26. Indeed,
during the approximate two weeks that Brooks did not receive
a meal bag to break his Ramadan fast, he ordered and received
food from the prison's commissary. Id. at 18-20.
Brooks states that he used the commissary items (which were
outside his diet) to pay a typist to type legal briefs for
him. Pl.'s Rule 56(d) Mot. & Decl. 19. He works in
the kitchen and purchases food from kitchen workers when
necessary. Id. at 20.
Administrative Remedy/Grievance History
6, 2015, Brooks submitted Administrative Remedy Procedure
(“ARP”) NBCI-1345-15, complaining that daily
congregate prayers no longer were allowed, officers had
harassed him about services, NOI were not allowed to use the
bathrooms during services, and NOI were not given their
bagged meals to break the fast. ARP, ECF No. 17-8, at 27-28,
30; Compl. 4. Acting Warden Nines dismissed the ARP,
reasoning that pursuant to “DMC-140, the Warden may
discontinue a religious activity at any time for security
purposes.” Id. at 27. Nines noted that
“[t]he NOI services became a threat to the security and
orderly operation of the institution, ” which justified
their cancellation. Id. The dismissal did not
address Brooks's other concerns regarding harassment, bag
meals, or use of the bathroom. See id.
appealed the dismissal of his ARP to the Commissioner of
Corrections. ARP, ECF No. 17-8, at 32. The Commissioner found
the appeal was “meritorious in part in that the Warden
did not fully address [Brooks's] initial
complaint.” Id. at 31. The Commissioner agreed
that “the Warden ha[d] the authority to modify or
cancel a religious service or event based on security
concerns, ” but the Warden had failed to address
Brooks's concerns regarding his ability “to
properly break [his] daily Ramadan fast” or the issue
regarding restroom accommodations. Id. The
Commissioner recommended “further investigation by the
facility, ” directed the Warden “to fully address
complaints in their entirety, ” and advised Brooks that
“[n]o further action [wa]s warranted through the ARP
process.” Id. Brooks claims that Warden Bishop
never responded to the other allegations in the ARP. Compl.
7. However, Brooks also states that, after the Commissioner
overturned the Warden's ARP denial, NOI were allowed to
use the bathroom during Saturday morning services. Pl.'s
Rule 56(d) Mot. & Decl. 20.
filed a grievance with the Inmate Grievance Office
(“IGO”), Grievance, ECF No. 17-10, at 10-13,
which rejected Brooks's claims regarding the cancellation
of services and the “deni[al] [of his] opportunity to
participate in the religious fast.” Jan. 15, 2016 IGO
Dismissal, ECF No. 17-10, at 25.
then filed a Petition for Judicial Review in the Circuit
Court for Allegany County. Pet., ECF No. 17-10, at 1. On
February 1, 2017, the state court reversed the decision of
the IGO in part and remanded the case to the IGO for further
administrative proceedings, finding that, while
“[t]here [wa]s ample evidence to support the response
to the complaint of cancellation of services pursuant to
DCM-140, ” the Warden had never addressed Brooks's
complaints regarding the bathroom facilities and breaking the
fast. Mem. & Order, ECF No. 17-10, at 69-70. Thereafter,
counsel for the IGO advised Brooks and the state court that
the IGO “sent the matter back to the Warden to address
the issues raised in th[e] Court's Memorandum and
Order.” May 3, 2017 Ltr., ECF No. 17-10, at 71. On June
7, 2017, Brooks filed a Motion for Constructive Civil
Contempt, contending that the IGO failed to hold a hearing to
resolve his claims. Pl.'s Mot. for Contempt, ECF No.
17-10, at 76-79. The court denied the motion. Id. at
95. Brooks acknowledges that Warden Bishop responded on
October 7, 2015, but in his view, it was “a hollow
response . . . that further violated Plaintiff's 1st and
14th Amendment Rights and the RLUIPA.” Compl. 12.
Nevertheless, Brooks did not appeal the Warden's
Motion to Strike
35 includes (1) a declaration that identifies the
attachments, ECF No. 35, (2) a cover letter, ECF No. 35-1,
and (3) a June 3, 2018 ARP and Appeal, (4) a Notice of
Assignment to Administrative Segregation, and (5) a Waiver
and Notification of Case Management Action, ECF No. 35-2. It
appears that Brooks filed these documents to challenge his
May 27, 2018 assignment to administrative segregation, in
essence, supplementing his complaint with a new claim.
Defendants move to strike these documents, arguing that
“Mr. Brooks has neither expressly requested that new
claims be added to this case nor alleged any just terms,
” as required by Rule 15(d), and in any event the
supplement would be futile because Brooks has not stated a
claim in ECF No. 35 against any Defendant with regard to
being placed in administrative segregation or alleged that he
exhausted his administrative remedies. Defs.' Mot to
court may strike from a pleading an insufficient defense or
any redundant, immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous
matter.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(f). Defendants do not contend
that ECF No. 35 is any of these. And, although the court
maintains wide discretion in considering a motion to strike,
see Haley Paint Co. v. E.I. Du Pont De Nemours &
Co., 279 F.R.D. 331, 336 (D. Md. 2012), “Rule
12(f) motions are generally viewed with disfavor
‘because striking a portion of a pleading is a drastic
remedy and because it is often sought by the movant simply as
a dilatory tactic.'” Waste Mgmt. Holdings, Inc.
v. Gilmore, 252 F.3d 316, 347 (4th Cir.2001) (quoting 5A
Charles Alan Wright & Arthur R. Miller, Federal
Practice & Procedure § 1380, 647 (2d ed.
a party is not at liberty to supplement his pleadings
whenever it suits him. Supplemental filings must be requested
by motion, providing any adverse party with reasonable notice
and an opportunity to oppose the supplementation; the court
must rule on the motion, granting it if finds “just
terms” to do so, and that the supplement “set[s]
out any transaction, occurrence, or event that happened after
the date of the pleading to be supplemented.”.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(d). Procedurally, as a Supplement to the
Complaint, ECF No. 35 is deficient, as Brooks did not file a
motion to supplement. See Id. And, while his
assignment to administrative segregation happened after
Brooks filed his Complaint, see id., he has not
stated his basis for challenging the assignment or provided
any justification for adding the additional information to
in his Opposition, Brooks complains that, while he was housed
at WCI, a “small legal pad” of his was
confiscated after “someone used [his] name, ID#, and
old cell address to threaten one of the officers on a
request slip”; the pad was returned to him two days
later, after the officers determined that he “did not
write the note.” Pl.'s Opp'n 4-5. Then, he was
placed in administrative segregation at WCI “39 days
after being cleared, ” which he views as
“harassment because of Plaintiff's civil
lawsuit.” Id. at 5. And, he discusses his
housing assignment at length in his preliminary injunction
motions. But, neither a preliminary injunction motion nor an
opposition to a dispositive motion is a vehicle for amending
a complaint. See Whitten v. Apria Healthcare Grp.,
Inc., No. PWG-14-3193, 2015 WL 2227928, at *7 (D. Md.
May 11, 2015). Moreover, given that Brooks's initial
Complaint concerns denial of religious services in 2015 at
NBCI, Brooks's allegations against unnamed correctional
staff at a different facility, regarding harassment and
improper assignment to administrative segregation in 2018 are
too far removed from the initial claim. Thus, insofar as ECF
No. 35 (or even the preliminary injunction motions) could be
construed as a Rule 15(d) motion to supplement, see
Fed. R. Civ. P. 1, it is denied. Brooks may file a new civil
rights complaint detailing these allegations and naming the
proper Defendants if he believes his constitutional rights
have been violated. Having construed ECF No. 35 as a motion
to supplement, and denied it, the Motion to Strike, ECF No.
36, is denied as moot.
Request for Discovery
seeks discovery of the following information: 1. videos of
(a) the dining room showing “the officers in the NOI
service and outside surrounding the Brooks after all
participants were dismissed”; (b) “Plaintiff
leaving Housing Unit 4 on August 12, 2015, in route to the
North Side of the prison to meet with Officer, Chaplin [sic]
Kevin Lamp”; (c) “the stabbing incident”;
(d) the “STG group activity taking place in the rear of
the NOI Ramadan service to do illegal activity”; and
(e) the incident at WCI when his legal pad was
confiscated; and 2. a request in his handwriting to go
to the North compound of the prison to teach class. Pl.'s
Rule 56(d) Mot. & Decl. 1, 18-19, 35; see also
Id. at 24-25. Brooks contends that the videos are
exculpatory and would show what ...