United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division
OPINION AND ORDER
P. SIMON JUDGE
Lambright, a prisoner without a lawyer, filed a complaint.
“A document filed pro se is to be liberally
construed, and a pro se complaint, however inartfully
pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than formal
pleadings drafted by lawyers.” Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). Nevertheless, pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, I must review the complaint and
dismiss it if the action is frivolous or malicious, fails to
state a claim, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant
who is immune from such relief. “In order to state a
claim under [42 U.S.C.] § 1983 a plaintiff must allege:
(1) that defendants deprived him of a federal constitutional
right; and (2) that the defendants acted under color of state
law.” Savory v. Lyons, 469 F.3d 667, 670 (7th
complaint, Lambright alleges that he has not been provided a
kosher diet since his arrival at the Westville Correctional
Facility on May 9, 2018. He alleges that the Department of
Correction maintains a policy of requiring prisoners
identifying as Orthodox Jews to submit kosher diet requests
to a committee for a sixty-day review process.
Lambright's application had been pending for sixty-seven
days as of the date he filed the complaint. He seeks money
damages and an injunction requiring the Department of
Correction to provide a kosher diet.
have a right to exercise their religion under the Free
Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. Vinning-El v.
Evans, 657 F.3d 591, 592-93 (7th Cir. 2011).
Nevertheless, correctional officials may restrict the
exercise of religion if the restrictions are reasonably
related to legitimate penological objectives, which include
safety, security, and economic concerns. Turner v.
Safley, 482 U.S. 78, 89-91 (1987). Additionally, the
Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA)
affords even broader protections than the First Amendment.
This act prohibits governmental entities from imposing
“a substantial burden on the religious exercise of a
person residing in or confined to an institution . . . unless
the government demonstrates that imposition of the burden on
that person is in furtherance of a compelling governmental
interest and is the least restrictive means of furthering
that compelling governmental interest.” 42 U.S.C.
§ 2000cc-1(a); Holt v. Hobbs, 135 S.Ct. 853
(2015). A restriction imposes a substantial burden on an
inmate's religious practice when it “seriously
violates or contradicts an inmate's religious
beliefs.” West v. Grams, 607 Fed.Appx. 561,
567 (7th Cir. 2015). Though money damages and injunctive
relief are available under the First Amendment, only
injunctive relief is available under RLUIPA. Sossamon v.
Texas, 563 U.S. 277, 285 (2011).
Lambright has named only the Department of Correction as a
defendant. However, the Department of Correction is not a
suable entity. Wynn v. Southward, 251 F.3d 588, 592
(7th Cir. 2001). Nevertheless, the court will allow Lambright
to proceed on his claim for injunctive relief under RLUIPA.
Because this claim requires an official with the authority to
implement the requested injunctive relief, the Commissioner
of the Indiana Department of Correction will be added as a
to state a claim under the First Amendment, Lambright must
amend his complaint because § 1983 imposes liability
only for violations of constitutional rights committed by
persons acting under color of state law. Thus, to state a
claim for money damages, Lambright must name the individual
or individuals responsible for the violation in their
individual capacity. To state a claim for injunctive relief,
Lambright must name the same individuals in their official
capacity. If Lambright opts not to file an amended complaint,
his claims as outlined in this Order, but no others, will
these reasons, the court:
DIRECTS the clerk to add the Commissioner of the Indiana
Department of Correction as a defendant;
GRANTS Kristopher Lambright leave to proceed on an injunctive
relief claim against the Commissioner of the Indiana
Department of Correction in his official capacity to provide
a kosher diet as required by the Religious Land Use and
Institutionalized Persons Act;
DISMISSES the Indiana Department of Correction;
DISMISSES all other claims;
DIRECTS the clerk and the United States Marshals Service to
issue and serve process on the Commissioner of the Indiana
Department of Correction at the Indiana Department of
Correction with a copy of this order and the complaint (ECF
1) as required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(d); and (6) ORDERS,
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(g)(2), the Commissioner of
the Indiana Department of Correction to respond, as provided
for in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and N.D. Ind.
L.R. 10-1(b), only to the claims for which the plaintiff has
been granted leave to proceed in this screening order.
GRANTS Lambright until August 30, 2018 to file an ...