United States District Court, D. Maryland
JAMAL TRAVIAL MACKELL-BEY, SAMUEL WILLIAMS, HOWARD EUGENE KING SOLOMON SCOTT, Plaintiffs,
ROBERT TROXELL, RICKY FOXWELL, SERGEANT GOULD, Defendants.
L. Hollander United States District Judge
consolidated cases arise from an isolated error on October
25, 2017, at Eastern Correctional Institution
(“ECI”), a prison 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 Jamal Travial Mackell-Bey,
Howard Eugene King Solomon Scott, and Samuel Williams were
inmates housed at ECI. They brought separate suits pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against ECI Warden Ricky Foxwell,
Dietary Manager Robert Troxell, and Sergeant Terri Gould, a
correctional dietary officer. See Mackell-Bey,
ELH-18-1507, ECF 1-2; ECF 10; ECF 18; Scott, ELH-18-1800, ECF
1; Williams, ELH-18-2267, ECF 1.Claiming that consumption of
pork is against their religion, each plaintiff seeks
compensatory and punitive damages for defendants' alleged
violation of their First Amendment rights.
Order of August 10, 2018, I consolidated plaintiffs'
cases and designated Mr. Mackell-Bey's case as the lead
one for filing and docketing purposes. See ELH
18-1507, ECF 9. Following consolidation, submissions were
docketed only in the lead case. Hereinafter, I shall refer to
the lead case, unless otherwise noted.
have moved to dismiss or, in the alternative, for summary
judgment. ECF 20. Their motion is supported by a memorandum
of law (ECF 20-1) (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 21. Williams and
Mackell-Bey filed responses in opposition to the
defendants' Motion (ECF 22; ECF 26), while Scott filed a
“Motion To Grant Or, In the Alternative, Motion For
Summary Judgment.” ECF 27. 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
one for summary judgment and shall be granted. Scott's
Motion to Grant or, in the Alternative, Motion for Summary
Judgment shall be denied.
state that on October 25, 2017,  while incarcerated at ECI,
they ate breakfast, consisting of what they believed to be
maple sausage links. See Mackell-Bey, ECF 10 at 2;
Williams, ECF 1 at 2; Scott, ECF 1 at 2. Thereafter,
plaintiffs discovered that the sausages served at breakfast
contained pork. Mackell-Bey, ECF 1-2 at 2; ECF 10 at 2;
Williams, ECF 1 at 2; Scott, ECF 1 at 2. Mackell-Bey claims
that he is a practicing member of the religious group known
as Moorish Science Temple of America, Inc. Mackell-Bey, ECF
8. Scott claims that he is a devout member of the Nation of
Islam. Scott, ECF 1 at 3. Williams claims that he is a
Rastafarian. Williams, ECF 1 at 2. All three plaintiffs claim
that consuming pork is against their religion. See
Mackell-Bey, ECF 1-2; ECF 10 at 3; ECF 18; Williams, ECF 1 at
2; Scott, ECF 1 at 3.
result of eating the sausages, Mackell-Bey claims that he
suffered stomach pains that prompted him to request an
appointment with medical staff. Mackell-Bey, ECF 1-2 at 2.
According to defendants, Mackell-Bey originally complained of
diarrhea on October 22, 2017, which was at least three days
before he ate the sausages, and he refused medical treatment
on November 2, 2017. See ECF 20-6 at 2.
claims that he suffered stomach pains and vomiting spells,
and submitted a Sick Call Request form. ECF 10 at 2; ECF 20-5
at 4. When he was seen by medical staff on October 31, 2017,
Scott reported that he was “starting to feel
better.” ECF 20-5 at 2.
submitted a Sick Call Request form dated October 26, 2017, in
which he stated that he returned to his cell from eating
breakfast on October 25, 2017, and began to vomit starting at
5:15. See ECF 20-4 at 2. He subsequently received a
nurse medical visit on October 31, 2017, at which time he
reported he was “slowly getting better.”
Id. at 3.
was the Correctional Dietary Manager at ECI during the
relevant time. ECF 20-3 (Troxell Declaration), &1. In his
Declaration, Troxell avers that none of the plaintiffs ever
submitted any written request for a non-pork diet on the
basis of their respective religious 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 being a
response opposing defendants' dispositive motion,
Mackell-Bey acknowledges that he did not “make known
his religious preference.” ECF 26 at 1. According to
ECI's case management system, Scott indicated on December
17, 2011, that his religious affiliation was both
“Protestant Apostolic” and “Nation of
Islam-Farrakhan.” Id. at 34. During
Williams's incarceration at ECI, he signed and dated a
Religious Preference Registration form that included a staff
witness signature, informing ECI staff of the faith group
that he intended to practice. ECF 20-2 at 32-33. On a form
dated August 17, 2015, Williams selected
“Rastafari” as his religion. Id.
maintains that, in accordance with Maryland Department of
Public Safety and Correctional Services (“DPSCS”)
policy, “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 20-3 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, the 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 20-2 at 3. 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 4) indicates an “Item
Description” of “Turkey Sausage Links.”
Further, the “Receiving Report” describes the
“articles” as “Turkey Sausage links.”
Id. at 5.
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 policies. See ECF 20-3 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
20-7 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 20-1 at 5.
October 27, 2017, Williams filed ARP complaint ECI-2874-17,
and on October 28, 2017, Scott filed ARP complaint
ECI-2789-17. ECF 20-2 at 6-7, 17-18. Both plaintiffs asserted
that by serving pork at breakfast on the date in question,
ECI staff violated their First Amendment right to practice
their religion. Id. Both plaintiffs also stated that
based on their respective religions, they are “not
allowed to eat any ...