United States District Court, D. Maryland
JOSEPH L. DRUMMOND, KENNETH A. JONES, Plaintiffs,
RICKY FOXWELL, Warden of ECI, ROBERT TROXELL, CDM, Defendants.
L. Hollander United States District Judge
consolidated case arises from an isolated error that occurred
on October 25, 2017, at Eastern Correctional Institution
(“ECI”), a Maryland prison located in Westover,
Maryland. The error resulted in the provision of sausages to
inmates at breakfast that contained 2% or less of pork stock.
time of the incident, plaintiffs Joseph L. Drummond and
Kenneth A. Jones were inmates housed at ECI. See ECF
1 (Drummond Compl.); Civil Action No. ELH-18-1105, ECF 1
(Jones Compl.). They brought separate suits pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983 against ECI Warden Ricky Foxwell and
Dietary Manager Robert Troxell. Id. Claiming that
consumption of pork is against their religion, each plaintiff
seeks compensatory and punitive damages of $3, 000, 000 for
defendants' alleged violation of their First Amendment
rights. Id. Jones also included exhibits with his
Order of July 6, 2018, I consolidated Mr. Jones's case
with that of Mr. Drummond. I also designated Mr.
Drummond's case as the lead one for filing purposes.
See Jones, ELH-18-1105, ECF 4.
have moved to dismiss or, in the alternative, for summary
judgment. ECF 11. Their motion is supported by a memorandum
of law (ECF 11-1) (collectively, the “Motion”)
and several exhibits. Pursuant to Roseboro v.
Garrison, 528 F.2d 309 (4th Cir. 1975), the court
informed plaintiffs that the failure to file a response in
opposition to the defendants' Motion could result in
dismissal of their Complaint. ECF 13, 18. Jones filed a
response in opposition to the defendants' Motion;
Drummond did not. ECF 19. Defendants did not reply.
review of the record, exhibits, and applicable law, the court
deems a hearing unnecessary. See Local Rule 105.6
(D. Md. 2018). Defendants' Motion shall be construed as a
motion for summary judgment and shall be granted.
state that on October 25, 2017, while incarcerated at ECI,
they ate breakfast consisting of what they believed to be
maple sausage links. Drummond Compl. at 2; Jones Compl. at
Thereafter, plaintiffs were informed by an inmate who had
prepared breakfast that the sausages contained pork.
Id. Drummond claims that he is a devout Rastafarian
with a background in Islam, while Jones claims that he
“has been a Christian his entire life.” Drummond
Compl. at 3; Jones Compl. at 2. Both state that consuming
pork is against their religion. Id.
plaintiff “immediately filed an A.R.P. [Administrative
Remedy Procedure] complaining that Maryland Department of
Corrections is prohibited from serving pork products”
and that “ECI and it's [sic] dietary department has
violated his first Amendment right to practice his religion,
and the free exercise clause.” Jones Compl. at 2;
see also Drummond Compl. at 2. As a result of the
occurrence, plaintiffs claim that they have suffered
psychologically, mentally, and spiritually. Drummond Compl.
at 4; Jones Compl. at 3. Drummond also claims that he
suffered stomach cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting spells.
Drummond Compl. at 2.
was the Correctional Dietary Manager at ECI during the
relevant time. ECF 11-3 (Troxell Declaration), &1. In his
Declaration, Troxell avers that neither plaintiff ever
submitted any written request for a non-pork diet on the
basis of their respective Rastafarian and Christian faiths.
Id. at &5. To Troxell's knowledge, during
the 27 years of his tenure in the Correctional Dietary
department, no inmate has ever requested a non-pork diet on
the basis of those faiths. Id.
Drummond's incarceration at ECI, he signed and dated
several Religious Preference Registration forms, each of
which included a staff witness signature, informing ECI staff
of the faith group that he intended to practice. ECF 11-2 at
18-22. In the most recent form, dated August 23, 2017,
Drummond selected “Rastafarian” as the religion
he intended to practice. Id. at 22. Likewise, during
Jones's incarceration at ECI, he signed and dated several
Religious Preference Registration forms. Id. at
23-29. In the most recent form, dated August 9, 2018, Jones
selected “No Religious Affiliation, ” indicating
that he did not intend to practice a religion. Id.
maintains that, in accordance with the policy of the Maryland
Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services
(“DPSCS”), “no prison inmate food items of
any kind may contain any pork or pork by-products out of
general consideration of established Muslim and Jewish
religious dietary restrictions, which forbid consumption of
any pork[.]” ECF 11-3 at ¶3. Moreover,
“[c]ertified Halal and Kosher diets are provided for
Muslim and Jewish inmates, respectively, on the basis of
widely recognized and established Muslim and Jewish religious
convictions.” Id. at ¶4. However, those
religious diets are “only provided to inmates who
submit a written dietary request and have been approved by
the prison chaplain once the chaplain has interviewed them
individually to ascertain the veracity and sincerity of their
respective religious faiths to warrant accommodation of a
religious diet rather than the general population
at the relevant time, DPSCS did not order sausages with any
pork. An Invoice dated September 27, 2017, reflects that ECI
contracted to purchase 192 cases of turkey maple sausage
links from a commercial food vendor. ECF 11-2 at 2. Of import
here, the Invoice expressly states, in part: “Sausage,
Turkey Maple Link . . . .” Id. Payment was due
by October 27, 2017. Id. And, the Purchase
Requisition (id. at 3) indicates an “Item
Description” of “Turkey Sausage Links.”
Further, the “Receiving Report” describes the
“articles” as “Turkey Sausage links.”
Id. at 4.
relevance, all commercial vendors supplying inmate food items
to ECI are explicitly informed prior to sale that any food
items must not contain any pork or pork by-products, in
accordance with DPSCS policy. See ECF 11-3 at
¶6. Troxell avers that ECI relies on the commercial food
vendors to comply with this policy with respect to the inmate
food items supplied to ECI. Id. Defendants also
expect ECI staff to comply with the Directives and ECI
policies regarding inmate meals. Id. at ¶7; ECF
11-6 at ¶3. Defendants do not dispute, however, that
“sausage that contained 2% or less dehydrated pork
stock” was served to ECI inmates on October 25, 2017.
See ECF 11-1 at 5-6.
October 26, 2017, Drummond filed ARP complaint ECI-2788-17,
asserting that by serving pork at breakfast on the date in
question, ECI staff violated his First Amendment right to
practice his religion. ECF 11-2 at 5-6. Drummond stated that
he “is Rastafarian and is not allowed to eat any kind
of pork products, because it is unholy, and unpure.”
Id. He sought, inter alia, monetary
November 7, 2017, Jones filed ARP complaint ECI-2889-17,
asserting that by serving pork at breakfast on the date in
question, ECI staff placed his health “in
jeopardy.” Id. at 9-10. Jones claimed that as
a result of eating pork, he vomited and suffered from
diarrhea. Id. He also sought, inter alia,
monetary compensation. Id.
responding to an ECI inmate's ARP complaint, Defendant
Foxwell relies on the review and investigation by the staff.
ECF 11-6 at ¶4. During the investigation of
plaintiffs' ARP complaints by ECI staff, a correctional
officer assigned to the “feed up” meal duty for
October 25, 2017, provided a statement indicating that, to
the officer's knowledge, no pork products were purchased
or served in the DOC [Division of Correction], that the food
item in question was turkey sausage, and that eggs were
available if any inmate wanted a substitute. ECF 11-2 at 7.
January 3, 2018, Foxwell provided the following response to
plaintiffs' ARP complaints, id. at 5, 9:
Your request for Administrative Remedy has been investigated
and is Meritorious in Part; upon review of reports from staff
and supporting documentation, it has been determined that
sausage that contained 2% or less dehydrated pork stock on
10/25/17. This was served as an oversite [sic] by multiple
departments and the vendor. This product has been pulled and
will not be served in the future. Eating of pork products
does not cause health issues. Staff has been advised to check
labels prior to serving.
December 21, 2017, before receiving a response from Foxwell,
Jones filed an appeal of his ARP complaint to the
Commissioner of Correction, arguing that Foxwell failed to
timely respond. Id. at 11. On January 17, 2018, the
Commissioner responded, id. at 12:
Your appeal has been investigated and is hereby found
meritorious in part in that the Warden failed to adhere to
the established timeframe outlined in OPS.185.0002. The
investigation revealed you signed for the warden's
response 8/19/17. The warden fully addressed your initial
complaint. You were advised in the warden's response that
staff has been instructed to check labels prior to serving.
The relief you seek will not be provided.
The Warden is directed to adhere to the established timeframe
outlined in OPS.185.0002.
No further action is warranted through the ARP process.
March 15, 2018, Jones filed a grievance appeal of the
disposition of ARP complaint ECI-2889-17 with the Inmate
Grievance Office (“IGO”). See ECF 11-5
at ¶4. The grievance was administratively dismissed,
effective May 18, 2018, when Jones failed to respond to a
letter from the IGO requesting that he provide supporting
paperwork within 30 days. Id. On June 13, 2018,
Jones filed another grievance appeal of the disposition of
ARP complaint ECI-2889-17 with the IGO. That grievance is
pending and, to my knowledge, no administrative decision has
been issued. Id.
is no record that Drummond filed any further appeal of his
ARP complaint with the IGO. See Id. at ¶3.