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Long v. SGT Sugai

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

May 23, 2019

DE WITT LAMAR LONG, #A1024631, Plaintiff,


          J. Michael Seabright Chief United States District Judge.

         Before the court is pro se Plaintiff De Witt Lamar Long's prisoner civil rights Complaint. ECF No. 1. Long challenges events that allegedly occurred at the Halawa Correctional Facility (“HCF”) between February 4, 2016 and June 27, 2017.[1] Long alleges Defendants HCF staff Sgt. Sugai, Chief of Security (“COS”) Lyle Antonio, Sgt. Wyatt, Case Manager Ms. Torres, and Inmate Grievance Officer (“IGO”) John or Jane Doe 1-50 violated his rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments. Long names Defendants in their official and individual capacities.

         For the following reasons, Counts IV and V, as alleged against Defendants Ms. Torres and IGO John or Jane Doe 1-50 are DISMISSED without prejudice. Long's claims in Counts I to III state a colorable claim for relief and shall be served on Defendants Sgt. Sugai, COS Antonio, and Sgt. Wyatt, who are required to file a response. See 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a).

         I. BACKGROUND

         Long is a practicing, recognized Muslim at HCF. He alleges that Sgt. Sugai often failed to provide him halal meals starting in February 2016, although Long was on the halal meal list.[2] ECF No. 1, PageID #8 (Count I). Long alleges Sugai would substitute kosher or vegetarian meals for his halal meal, although vegetarian meals are allegedly prepared with utensils that are used to prepare regular meals and may come into contact with pork, which is forbidden under Islamic dietary rules. When Long protested, Sugai allegedly retaliated by making him collect his meals from the cafeteria but eat in the module. Long also alleges Sugai ordered the cafeteria to provide Long smaller portions, and pork on occasion.

         On or about May 8, 2017, Long was moved from general population housing to the High Security Unit (“SHU”). Long alleges that COS Antonio refused to allow him to attend Friday afternoon Muslim services, which are held in the general population module, in retaliation for filing grievances. Id., PageID #9 (Count II). This continued throughout Ramadan, which was observed between May 26 and June 27, 2017.

         Long further alleges that, during the month of Ramadan, when practicing Muslims fast between sunrise and sunset, his meals were brought to the SHU four hours before sunset, and became cold and inedible before he could eat. Id., PageID #10 (Count III). When Long asked Sgt. Wyatt to heat his meals in a microwave or provide hot meals, Wyatt refused.

         Long alleges that he spoke with and wrote to case manager Ms. Torres between May 10 and June 28, 2017, and filed grievances concerning his request to attend Muslim services. Id., PageID #12 (Count IV). On one occasion, Ms. Torres returned a grievance, stating it was duplicative of a pending grievance. Long complains that Ms. Torres failed to intervene and assist him.

         Finally, Long complains that an unknown IGO denied him due process when he or she failed to respond to a step one grievance, and then denied his step two grievance as mooted by his transfer to Arizona on June 28, 2017.

         Long seeks $77, 000 in compensatory damages and injunctive relief allowing SHU inmates to attend Friday services and requiring halal meals to be served hot during Ramadan.

         II. SCREENING

         The court must screen all civil actions brought by prisoners proceeding in forma pauperis or seeking redress from a government entity, officer, or employee. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) & 1915A(a). Complaints or claims that are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim, or seek relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief must be dismissed. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) & 1915A(b); 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(c)(1).

         To state a claim, a pleading must contain a “short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). This does not require detailed factual allegations, but “it demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). “[A] complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Id. (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). To state a plausible claim, a plaintiff must plead facts that allow “the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id.

         A court must “accept factual allegations in the complaint as true and construe the pleadings in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party.” Manzarek v. St. Paul Fire & Marine Ins. Co., 519 F.3d 1025, 1031 (9th Cir. 2008). Leave to amend should be granted if it appears the plaintiff can correct the defects in the complaint. Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1130 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc).

         III. ...

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