United States District Court, D. Maryland
SALAHUDDIN F. SMART, Plaintiff,
THE DEPT. OF CORRECTIONS FOR QUEEN ANNE'S COUNTY, ARAMARK, INC., C.P.O. MEARS and DIRECTOR/WARDEN LAMONTE E. COOKE, Defendants.
THEODORE D. CHUANG UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Salahuddin Smart has filed a Complaint alleging that he was
denied a kosher diet and, on one occasion, was denied a
shower while he was a pretrial detainee at Queen Anne's
County Detention Center in Centreville, Maryland. Defendants
Director/Warden Lamonte E. Cooke, C.P.O. Mears, and the
Department of Corrections for Queen Anne's County
("the DOC") (collectively, "the Correctional
Defendants") have filed a Motion to Dismiss or, in the
Alternative, for Summary Judgmen.. Defendant Aramark, Inc.
("Aramark") has filed a Motion to Dismiss. Having
reviewed the Complaint and submitted materials, the Court
finds that no hearing is necessary. See D. Md. Local
R. 105.6. For the reasons set forth below, the Correctional
Defendants' Motion, construed as a Motion for Summary
Judgment, and Aramark's Motion to Dismiss, will be
November 22, 2017, while confined at Queen Anne's County
Detention Center ("QACDC") as a pretrial detainee,
Smart requested a kosher diet in accordance with his
religious beliefs. Warden Cooke approved this request.
November 27, 2017, Smart filed the instant Complaint in which
he asserted that:
Since my arrival each meal has not been kosher at all[;] in
totality only the fruits have been kosher the meats are the
same meats served to entire facility. Liquids as well. To
disguise as kosher Aramark writes on containers kosher yet
none of the meals since my confinement have met kosher
requirements. Aramark could have . . .
substituted by giving me a vegetarian diet yet it choose[s]
to serve turkey, balon[e]y, salami, etc. ..
. Th[e]n I'm ignored when I complain about this
non[-] kosher diet & unknown meat.
Compl. at 6, ECF NO.1. Smart asserted that
the lack of a genuine kosher diet caused him to go hungry and
has deprived him of his constitutional rights. Smart's
Complaint also alleged that
"C.P.O. Mears refuse
me a shower solely to discipline without any legal
basis," though he provides no additional details about
this incident. Id. Smart further claimed that he
"wrote numerous grievance[s] and request form[s] to
corroborate during discovery. Th[eir] failure to answer as
stated in the . . . inmate handbook is telling!!"
Id. (capitalization altered). Smart did not provide
any details about these grievances. He requested monetary
damages and injunctive relief in the form of kosher meals.
November 28, 2017, the Warden issued a notice stating that
"until the clearance for the kosher meal are approved we
will treat all kosher meals as lacto vegetarian diet no
meats." Aramark Mot. Dismiss Ex. 5, ECF No. 23-7. On
November 29, 207, Lavonne Carpenter, the Food Services
Manager at QACDC and an employee of Aramark, placed an order
with Single Source, a food service distribution company, for
delivery of kosher meals and other food to QACDC. The food
order was scheduled to arrive at QACDC on December 6, 2017.
point between December 1 and December 4, 2017, Smart
submitted an Inmate Grievance/Complaint Form addressed to the
Aramark Food Supplier Supervisor, but which was first
reviewed by Warden Cooke on December 4, 2017. Smart's
grievance provided the name and phone number of a rabbi and
Inquire whether your substitute for kosher amounts to kosher
meals? Ask if the serving(s] are kosher since I've been
approved of the special diet? Ask if your food serving
outside fruit products, potatoes, bald eggs, amount to a
kosher diet. I specifically told Warden have vegetarian diet
meet kosher diet until you can receive kosher meal from New
Mot. Dismiss Ex. 7, ECF No. 23-9. After reviewing the
grievance, Warden Cooke contacted Carpenter on December 4,
2017. The grievance form states that Carpenter reported that
kosher meals had been ordered and would be arriving later the
same week. On December 20, 2017, Smart was transferred out of
their Motion, the Correctional Defendants argue that the DOC
is not an entity capable of being sued, that Smart has failed
to allege facts demonstrating that Warden Cooke is liable for
the alleged harms, and that Mears's act of denying Smart
a shower on a single occasion does not rise to the level of a
constitutional violation. In its Motion, Aramark seeks
dismissal of the claims against it on the grounds that
Smart's claim is moot because he has been transferred to
another facility, that his claim fails because Aramark is not
a state actor, and that Smart failed to exhaust
administrative remedies before filing suit. Although notified
of his right to respond, Smart did not file a memorandum in
opposition to either Motion.