United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND FOR
FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM (ECF NO. 1)
Willie Griffin is appearing pro se and in forma pauperis in
this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Currently before the Court is Plaintiff's complaint,
filed April 6, 2017.
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 on
which relief may be granted, ” or that “seek
monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such
relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
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, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)).
Moreover, Plaintiff must demonstrate that each defendant
personally participated in the deprivation of Plaintiff's
rights. Jones v. Williams, 297 F.3d 930, 934 (9th
proceeding pro se in civil rights actions are entitled to
have their pleadings liberally construed and to have any
doubt resolved in their favor. Wilhelm v. Rotman,
680 F.3d 1113, 1121 (9th Cir. 2012) (citations omitted). To
survive screening, Plaintiff's claims must be facially
plausible, which requires sufficient factual detail to allow
the Court to reasonably infer that each named defendant is
liable for the misconduct alleged. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
at 678-79; Moss v. U.S. Secret Service, 572 F.3d
962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). The “sheer possibility that a
defendant has acted unlawfully” is not sufficient, and
“facts that are ‘merely consistent with' a
defendant's liability” falls short of satisfying
the plausibility standard. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678;
Moss, 572 F.3d at 969.
is in the custody of the California Department of Corrections
and Rehabilitation and is currently housed at the Substance
Abuse Treatment Facility. Plaintiff brings this action
against Defendant D. Lopez alleging violations of the First
and Eighth Amendments.
is of the Muslim faith and embraces its tenets. (Compl.
¶ 8.) On June 19, 2016, Defendant Lopez refused
Plaintiff his religious meals during Ramadan stating he did
not care about Plaintiff's religion. (Compl. ¶¶
11, 15.) Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Lopez has a custom
of denying Muslim inmates their religious meals during
Ramadan. (Compl. ¶ 13.)
reasons discussed below, Plaintiff's complaint fails to
state a cognizable claim. Plaintiff shall be granted the
opportunity to file an amended complaint to correct the
retain the protections of the First Amendment” but
their “right to freely exercise [their] religion is
limited by institutional objectives and by the loss of
freedom concomitant with incarceration.” Hartmann
v. California Dep't of Corr. & Rehab., 707 F.3d
1114, 1122 (9th Cir. 2013) (citing O'Lone v. Estate
of Shabazz, 482 U.S. 342, 348 (1997)). The protections
of the Free Exercise Clause are triggered when prison
officials substantially burden the practice of an
inmate's religion by preventing him from engaging in
conduct which he sincerely believes is consistent with his
faith, but an impingement on an inmate's constitutional
rights will be upheld “‘if it is reasonably
related to legitimate penological interests.'”
Shakur v. Schriro, 514 F.3d 878, 884-85 (9th Cir.
2008) (quoting Turner v. Safley, 482 U.S. 78, 89
(1987)). Inmates “have the right to be provided with
food sufficient to sustain them in good health that satisfies
the dietary laws of their religion.” McElyea v.
Babbitt, 833 F.2d 196, 198 (9th Cir. 1987).
allegation that he was not provided religious meals on a
single day is the sort of “relative short-term and
sporadic” intrusion that does not amount to a
substantial burden on a prisoner's First Amendment free
exercise rights. See Canell v. Lightner, 143 F.3d
1210, 1215 (9th Cir. 1998). Plaintiff's failure to
receive religious meals on one day does not rise to the level
of a substantial burden on his religious exercise. See
McKenzie v. Ellis, No. 10CV1490-LAB AJB, 2012 WL
4050297, at *5 (S.D. Cal. Sept. 13, 2012), aff'd, 541 F.
App'x 784 (9th Cir. 2013) (four day delay in receiving
religious meals not constitutional violation); Moore v.
Katavich, No. 1:15-CV-01317-BAM-PC, 2015 WL 13237071, at
*2 (E.D. Cal. Dec. 18, 2015) (receiving wrong meal on three
occasions insufficient to establish a sufficient burden on
free exercise of religion); Camacho v. Shields, 368
F. App'x 834, 835 (9th Cir. 2010) (interruption of
prayers on one occasion not a substantial burden on religious
while Plaintiff alleges that he is Muslim and adheres to the
tenets of the Muslim faith, the complaint does not allege
that he sincerely believes that eating Muslim meals is
consistent with his faith. See Shakur, 514 F.3d at
885 (only those beliefs which are sincerely held and
religious in nature are entitled to constitutional
protection); Malik v. Brown, 16 F.3d 330, 333 (9th
Cir. 1994), supplemented, 65 F.3d 148 (9th Cir. 1995) (to
merit protection under the First Amendment the proffered
belief must be ...