Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Todd v. California Department of Corrections and Rehabilition

United States District Court, E.D. California

May 23, 2017

MICHAEL ANTHONY TODD, Plaintiff,
v.
CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS AND REHABILITATION, et al., Defendants.

          FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS REGARDING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS THE SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT (DOC. 61)

          Barbara A. McAuliffe UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Michael Anthony Todd, a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on June 21, 2012. This action currently proceeds on Plaintiff's First Amendment, Establishment Clause and equal protection claims against Defendants Albitre, Smith-Robicheaux (sued as “Smith”), Indermill, Mayo, Mussellman, Ruiz and Rabbi Carron as set forth in the second amended complaint. Plaintiff's allegations concern the asserted denial of his rights arising out of his membership in, and practice of, Creativity as a religion.

         I. Procedural Background

         On March 26, 2013, the Court screened Plaintiff's first amended complaint, and recommended dismissal of Plaintiff's claim regarding rejection of incoming mail without prejudice and dismissal of Plaintiff's remaining claims with prejudice for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. (Doc. 15.) On April 9, 2013, the District Court adopted the recommendations, and dismissed Plaintiff's claim regarding rejection of incoming mail without prejudice to re-filing in a separate, new action and dismissed all of Plaintiff's remaining claims with prejudice for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. (Doc. 17.) Plaintiff appealed the dismissal. (Doc. 19.)

         On August 27, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (“Ninth Circuit”) affirmed in part, reversed in part and remanded the action to this Court. Specifically, the Ninth Circuit determined that the Court prematurely dismissed Plaintiff's First Amendment, Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (“RLUIPA”), Establishment Clause and equal protection claims because Plaintiff's allegations, liberally construed, were sufficient to warrant ordering defendants to file an answer. However, the Ninth Circuit explicitly stated that it expressed no opinion as to whether Creativity constituted a religion. (Doc. 25.) The mandate issued on September 21, 2015. (Doc. 26.)

         Following issuance of the mandate and remand, this Court vacated the entry of judgment, reopened the action and directed Plaintiff to return service documents for eight defendants. On December 4, 2015, the Court directed the United States Marshal to serve these defendants. However, the Court subsequently vacated the service order pending rescreening of the First Amended Complaint. Upon rescreening, the Court issued Findings and Recommendations on January 7, 2016, that the action should proceed on Plaintiff's First Amendment, RLUIPA, Establishment Clause and equal protection claims against Defendants Albitre, Smith, Indermill, Mayo, Mussellman, Ruiz and Rabbi John Doe. (Doc. 39.)

         During pendency of the Findings and Recommendations, Plaintiff moved for leave to file a second amended complaint. (Doc. 40.) On February 24, 2016, the Court granted the motion for leave to amend, vacated the January 7, 2016 Findings and Recommendations and filed Plaintiff's second amended complaint. (Docs. 42, 43.)

         The Court screened the second amended complaint, and on March 21, 2016, the District Court ordered that this action proceed on Plaintiff's First Amendment, Establishment Clause and equal protection claims against Defendants Albitre, Smith, Indermill, Mayo, Mussellman, Ruiz and Rabbi Carron and dismissed Defendants CDCR and CSP from this action. (Doc. 46.)

         On June 20, 2016, following service of the second amended complaint, Defendants Smith-Robicheaux, Ruiz, Mayo and Musselman filed an answer. (Doc. 51.)

         On July 28, 2016, Defendants Indermill, Albitre and Carron, who are represented by separate counsel, filed a motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) on the grounds that they are entitled to qualified immunity. Defendants Indermill, Albitre and Carron argue, in part, that they are entitled to qualified immunity on the ground that there is no clearly established law in the Ninth Circuit recognizing Creativity as rooted in religious beliefs. (Doc. 61.) Plaintiff opposed the motion on August 11, 2016, and Defendants replied on August 18, 2016. (Docs. 62, 64.)

         The motion is deemed submitted. Local Rule 230(1).

         II. Relevant Allegations in Second Amended Complaint

         Plaintiff is currently housed at California State Prison, Sacramento. However, the events in the second amended complaint are alleged to have occurred while Plaintiff was housed at California State Prison, Corcoran.

         Plaintiff alleges that he is both a member and minister of the “Ecclesia Creatoris” religious organization, which promotes the Creativity religion. Plaintiff asserts that he “sincerely believes in the tenets of Creativity and holds Creativity to be his religion.” (Doc. 43, p. 4.) Upon becoming a member, Plaintiff pledged not only “undying loyalty to the White Race, ” but also to “promote the best interests of the While Race.” (Id. at pp. 4-5.) Plaintiff has been teaching the tenets of Creativity to other inmates for fourteen years.

         Confiscation of Religious Material

         On January 24, 2011, Defendants Mayo and Mussellman searched Plaintiff's cell because they, and Defendant Ruiz, noticed flyers taped to the wall of the cell. The flyers were seized and Defendant Ruiz confiscated the material as gang-related, noting the racist nature of the materials. Plaintiff asserted to Defendant Ruiz that the flyers were religious in nature and did not advocate violence or illegal behavior. However, Defendant Ruiz became belligerent and refused to give Plaintiff a receipt for the confiscated material.

         On the same date, Plaintiff filed an inmate appeal relating to Defendant Ruiz's confiscation of his religious material. The appeal was returned with instructions to provide a description of the confiscated material. Plaintiff resubmitted the appeal. He contends that during adjudication of the appeal, Defendant Ruiz provided falsified information and interfered with the appeal process. The appeal was not processed at the Third Level because the time limits had elapsed.

         Religious Diet

         Plaintiff alleges that Creativity requires a fruitarian diet, which consists of raw organic whole food (fruits, vegetables, nuts and some grains), along with clean, pure, unpolluted water (or filtered or distilled water as a last resort) or freshly-squeezed juice from organic fruits and vegetables. Plaintiff contends that Defendants have denied him the ability to practice this diet, informing him that it is not offered by CSP-Corcoran and is not a CDCR-approved religious diet. Although Defendants have offered to place him on a vegetarian diet or the Halal diet, these diets do not meet his dietary needs. Defendants also have refused to place Plaintiff on the Kosher diet because it is only available ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.