United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Charlotte Division
D. Whitney Chief United States District Judge.
MATTER comes before the Court on Defendant Stephen
Bird's Motion for Summary Judgment, (Doc. No. 26).
Plaintiff William Carawan, a North Carolina state inmate
currently incarcerated at Tabor Correctional Institution,
filed this action on July 26, 2016, pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983, alleging violations of his rights under the
First Amendment and Religious Land Use and Institutionalized
Persons Act (“RLUIPA”), codified as 42 U.S.C.
§ 2000cc et. seq. Plaintiff alleges that, while he was
housed at Lanesboro Correctional Institution, the prison did
not have a Zakat fund. Plaintiff alleges that, as a result,
he was not permitted to practice Zakat (charity) in
accordance with Islam, even though it is an Islamic pillar
and other prison camps use a Zakat fund through the prison
canteen. (Doc. No. 1). Plaintiff named as Defendants former
Lanesboro Superintendent David Mitchell and Stephen Bird, a
Correctional Chaplain at Lanesboro at all relevant times.
Plaintiff requested declaratory and injunctive relief and
nominal, compensatory, and punitive damages. (Id.).
March 1, 2017, this Court conducted its frivolity review,
dismissing Plaintiff's claim for injunctive relief as
moot because he had been transferred away from Lanesboro, and
allowing Plaintiff to proceed as to his First Amendment and
RLUIPA claims. (Doc. No. 10). A summons was returned as
unexecuted as to Defendant Mitchell on March 30, 2017,
because Mitchell is no longer employed as Superintendent at
Lanesboro. (Doc. No. 12).
Bird filed the pending summary judgment motion on January 2,
2018. (Doc. No. 26). On January 2, 2018, this Court entered
an order in accordance with Roseboro v. Garrison,
528 F.2d 309 (4th Cir. 1975), advising Plaintiff of the
requirements for filing a response to the summary judgment
motion and of the manner in which evidence could be submitted
to the Court. (Doc. No. 29). On January 23, 2018, Plaintiff
filed his response to the summary judgment motion. (Doc. No.
contends in this action that his rights under RLUIPA and the
First Amendment were violated while he was incarcerated at
Lanesboro Correctional Institution as a result of the
prison's discontinuation of the Zakat fund-a fund through
which prisoners could give charity in accordance with one of
the five pillars of Islam, Plaintiff's religion.
Plaintiff alleged as follows in the Complaint: “I am
prevented from practicing Islam's third pillar of
practice because N.C. D.P.S. policy says we can't give
things to one another but if the zakat fund was initiated we
would be able to offer that charity by going to canteen to
purchase zakat tickets. I'm not allowed due process in
the deprivation of the zakat fund . . . .” (Doc. No. 1
at p. 4).
Defendant's Summary Judgment Materials
support of the summary judgment motion, Defendant has
submitted Defendant's own affidavit; the affidavit of
non-party John Herring, the current Correctional Facility
Administrator at Lanesboro; and Exhibits A through H, which
include the NCDPS Religious Practices Resource Guide and
Reference Manual, various correspondence between Plaintiff
and prison administrators, and Plaintiff's grievances.
See (Doc. Nos. 27-1, 27-2). Defendant's summary
judgment materials show that Plaintiff was incarcerated at
Lanesboro from October 29, 2014, to August 18, 2016, when he
was transferred from Lanesboro to Tabor Correctional Center.
(Doc. No. 27-1 at ¶ 4: Bird Aff. & Ex. A).
provides written guidance to NCDPS administrators, chaplains,
and other appropriate staff concerning religious practices
and religious paraphernalia. NCDPS's Religious Practices
Resource Guide and Reference Manual (“Manual”),
written and published by the Division of Prisons Religious
Practices Committee, includes a list of faith practices that
are officially recognized by NCDPS. This manual also includes
a brief description of the basic beliefs, authorized
practices, worship procedures, and authorized religious items
associated with each faith group.
recognizes Islam as an approved religion. The part of the
Manual under Faith Groups includes a section for the Muslim
faith that provides guidance on the Five Pillars of Islam,
including Charity (Zakat). The Manual provides that Charity
(Zakat) is “[m]oney collected for charity and
propagation of the faith. Each facility may permit a