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Quincy A. Sims v. Wegman

December 19, 2011

QUINCY A. SIMS,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
WEGMAN, ET AL.,
DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Dennis L. Beck United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO FILE AMENDED COMPLAINT WITHIN THIRTY DAYS

Screening Order

I. Background

Plaintiff Quincy A. Sims ("Plaintiff") is a prisoner in the custody of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation ("CDCR"). Plaintiff is proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff filed his complaint on June 9, 2011.

The Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if the prisoner has raised claims that are legally "frivolous or malicious," that fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or that seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1),(2). "Notwithstanding any filing fee, or any portion thereof, that may have been paid, the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that . . . the action or appeal . . . fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).

A complaint 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). Detailed factual allegations are not required, but "[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). Plaintiff must set forth "sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim that is plausible on its face.'" Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). While factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusions are not. Id.

II. Summary Of Complaint

Plaintiff is incarcerated at Kern Valley State Prison ("KVSP") in Delano, California, where the events giving rise to this action occurred. Plaintiff names Warden M. D. Biter, Community Resource Manager C. Wegman and Appeals Coordinator B. DaVeiga as Defendants.

Plaintiff alleges that on April 13, 2011, he petitioned KVSP for an accommodation in his diet. He requested that he be given a Kosher Foods diet to accommodate his religious guidelines as a "registered" Muslim in the Nation of Islam.

Plaintiff alleges that he presented Defendants with documentation to support his claim but he was repeatedly denied. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant DaVeiga rejected the claim numerous times for "unsubstantial" reasons, in violation of The Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 ("RLUIPA") and the First, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments.

Plaintiff incorporates the underlying request and inmate appeal documents and attaches them to his complaint. Plaintiff requested a change from a Vegetarian Diet to a Kosher Diet because, as a Muslim, he was entitled to eat the same foods as Orthodox Jewish inmates. He requested Kosher meals because Muslim and Jewish foods were similar.

On April 12, 2011, Defendant Wegman denied his request, explaining that as a "self-identifying and practicing Muslim," Plaintiff may qualify for a special religious diet. However, the Jewish Kosher Diet Program is only available to Jewish inmates and Plaintiff therefore did not qualify. Defendant Wegman explained that in his C-File, Plaintiff stated that he was "Christian/Muslim" and therefore "clearly [did] not meet the criteria for the Jewish Kosher Diet Program under CCR § 3054.2(a) as [he is] not Jewish." Defendant Wegman informed Plaintiff that his religious diet needs are met under either a Vegetarian Diet or Meat Alternative Diet, both of which are available for inmates who qualify. Defendant Wegman instructed Plaintiff to contact the designated chaplain for his faith and apply for the program.

On April 18, 2011, April 26, 2011, and May 3, 2011, Defendant DeVeiga rejected Plaintiff's appeal for various procedural reasons.

III. Analysis

A. Defendant ...


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