United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Western Division
ORLANDER D. LEGGETT, also known as Orlander Demetrius Leggett, Plaintiff,
GEORGE SOLOMON, JANET BUNDY, JOHN STEEN, and MARY GREEN, Defendants.
W. FLANAGAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the court on defendants’ motion for
summary judgment (DE 32) pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 56. Plaintiff did not respond to the motion. For
the reasons that follow, the court grants the motion.
OF THE CASE
commenced this action by filing complaint on August 11, 2016,
alleging claims for violations of his civil rights pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Religious Land Use and
Institutionalized Persons Act (“RLUIPA”), 42
U.S.C. §§ 2000cc et seq. Plaintiff alleges
defendants George Solomon (“Solomon”), Janet
Bundy (“Bundy”), John Steen
(“Steen”), and Mary Green (“Green”)
violated his rights under the First Amendment to the United
States Constitution and RLUIPA by requiring that he observe
Ramadan and other Islamic holy days on the wrong dates.
Plaintiff seeks compensatory damages and injunctive relief.
September 13, 2017, the court conducted its frivolity review
of the complaint and allowed the action to proceed. On August
10, 2018, the court entered case management order governing
discovery and pretrial dispositive motions practice. The
parties completed discovery on or about December 17, 2018.
March 1, 2019, defendants filed the instant motion for
summary judgment, arguing plaintiff failed to exhaust his
administrative remedies as to one of his claims, that the
RLUIPA claims are moot, and that the undisputed record
evidence demonstrates defendants did not violate
plaintiff’s rights to freely exercise his religion. In
support, defendants rely upon a memorandum of law, statement
of material facts, and the following: 1) affidavit from
defendant Bundy; 2) May 1, 2016, memorandum from defendant
Solomon (“Solomon Memorandum”); 3) May 15, 2016,
memorandum from defendant Bundy (“Bundy
Memorandum”); 4) plaintiff’s grievance records;
and 5) records showing plaintiff’s release from
March 4, 2019, pursuant to Roseboro v. Garrison, 528
F.2d 309 (4th Cir. 1975), the court provided plaintiff notice
of his right to respond to the instant motion. Plaintiff,
however, failed to file response. On April 5, 2019, the court
entered order directing plaintiff to show cause why this
action should not be dismissed for failure to prosecute.
Plaintiff responded to the show cause order, but did not file
substantive response to defendants’ motion for summary
OF THE FACTS
2016, plaintiff was serving state term of imprisonment at the
Carteret Correctional Institution (“Carteret
C.I.”). (Bundy Aff. (DE 35-4) ¶¶ 5-7).
Defendant Bundy is the correctional superintendent at the
Carteret C.I. (Id. ¶ 3) . I n M a y 2016,
defendant Bundy received memorandum from defendant Solomon,
the former North Carolina Department of Public Safety
(“DPS”) Director of Prisons. (Id. ¶
7; Solomon Memorandum (DE 35-4) at 6). The Solomon
memorandum outlined DPS procedures for Muslim inmate
observance of the 2016 Islamic holy month of Ramadan, Night
of Power, and Eid al Fitr, and included the officials start
and end dates for Ramadan recognized by DPS. (Bundy Aff. (DE
35-4) ¶ 7; Solomon Memorandum (DE 35-4) at 6).
Defendants Bundy and Green, a DPS program supervisor, then
prepared a memorandum for distribution to the Carteret C.I.
inmate population outlining the procedures that would be in
place for Ramadan. (Id. ¶ 8; Bundy Memorandum
(DE 35-4) at 14).
verified complaint alleges defendants did not permit him to
properly observe Ramadan, the Night of Power, or Eid al Fitr.
Specifically, plaintiff alleges the following:
A memorandum was posted “claiming” to be a
[Department of Public Safety] memorandum, it was signed by
[defendant] Bundy. This memorandum was full of incorrect
dates concerning the Muslim month of Ramadan. . . .
I contacted [defendant] Steen [and] the programmer over all
religious services, [defendant] Green to show them the
correct dates on an Islamic Calender. Neither [defendant
Steen or defendant Green] investigated nor did any research
on the matter. Everyone I consulted said the memo stands and
their hands were basically tied. I spoke with Sergeant
Michael Goddette several times but he could not overrule
anything set in motion.
On June 6, 2016, at sundown we were to start the month of
Ramadan, according to the [Department of Public Safety]
memorandum mentioned earlier. Ramadan actually started the
prior evening. [June 6] was supposed to be our first day of
fasting. So, on my first day of fasting I was given no
pre-dawn meal, my first meal came that evening.
Due to the incorrect starting date, all of our other
important dates were affected. The memorandum stated our
“Laylul Qadr” or Night of Power was to occur on
Friday, [July 1, 2016]. But the actual Night of Power was to
fall on any of the odd nights of the last ten days of
Ramadan. That is based on the Islamic calendar, so [in 2016]
that should have been either: June 26, 28, 30, July 2, or 4.
According to the memorandum, our fast was to end on [July 4,
2016, ] but the month of Ramadan actually ended on [July 5,
2016, ] so we were forced to break our fast early or if we
could afford it provide our own meals at the correct times.