United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
ENTRY GRANTING UNOPPOSED MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
AND DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL JUDGMENT
Jane Magnus-Stinson, Chief Judge United States District Court
Robert Lee Shorter filed this civil action seeking a kosher
diet and money damages. The defendants argue that after this
case was filed, Shorter began getting the diet he requested
and disavowed his request for damages. The defendants argue
that because the claim for injunctive relief is moot, they
are entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Shorter has not
responded to the motion for summary judgment.
reasons explained below, the defendants' motion for
summary judgment [dkt. 41] is granted.
Standard of Review
judgment should be granted “if the movant shows that
there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the
movant is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a). A “material fact”
is one that “might affect the outcome of the
suit.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). The Court views the
facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and
all reasonable inferences are drawn in the non-movant's
favor. Ault v. Speicher, 634 F.3d 942, 945 (7th Cir.
applicable substantive law will dictate which facts are
material.” National Soffit & Escutcheons, Inc.,
v. Superior Systems, Inc., 98 F.3d 262, 265 (7th Cir.
1996) (citing Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248).
is currently incarcerated at Pendleton Correctional Facility.
He filed his initial complaint on April 06, 2015, and amended
his complaint on July 7, 2015. The alleged incidents occurred
at the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility. Shorter is
self-designated in Department of Correction records as a
Hebrew Israelite and has been since October 17, 2013.
requested a religious accommodation in his diet and was
denied. No religious accommodation was provided to Shorter
because vegan meals available without a special accommodation
met the requirements set out by Shorter.
an administrative appeal, Shorter was approved for a kosher
diet in September 2015, began receiving the accommodation in
November 2015, and is receiving it today.
does not seek any monetary relief in this action. Shorter
testified at his deposition that he did not want money from
either of the defendants. (Shorter Dep. 91:13- 15.) When
probed further to determine what Shorter was seeking, having
already received the kosher diet, Shorter responded that he
wanted “[a]n injunction from them to stop denying me my
kosher diet and provide me with my kosher diet.”
(Shorter Dep. 91:22-25; 92:1.) For final clarification,
Shorter was asked if he wanted 1 dollar, a million dollars or
any money whatsoever and he responded that he did not.
(Shorter Dep. 92:12-14.) Accordingly, the only remaining
relief sought by the plaintiff is an injunction that he be
allowed to eat a kosher diet and that it not be taken away
for unjust cause. (Shorter Dep. 92: 15-19.)
private settlement agreement now governs the provision of
kosher diets in the Indiana Department of Correction. The
agreement reached in Witmer (formerly Willis), et al., v.
Commissioner, Cause No. 1:09-cv-815-JMS-DM, applies to:
All prisoners confined within the Indiana Department of
Correction, including the New Castle Correctional Facility,
who have identified, or who will identify, themselves to the
Indiana Department of Correction as requiring a kosher diet
in order to properly exercise their religious beliefs and who
have requested such a diet, or would request it if such a
diet was available.
agreement governs revocation of approved religious diets and
limits the circumstances under which an offender may lose
approval for a kosher diet to situations of abuse of the diet
by non-use or conduct in conflict with the assertion of a
sincerely held religious belief that the diet is required,
such as eating off of the non-kosher main food line or buying