United States District Court, D. Oregon, Pendleton Division
OPINION & ORDER
Paul Papak, United States Magistrate Judge
pro se prisoner civil rights case comes before the
Court on cross motions for summary judgment. ECF Nos, 78,
100, 129. For the reasons discussed below, Plaintiffs Motion
for Summary Judgment, ECF No. 78, is DENIED and
Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment and Supplemental
Motion for Summary Judgment, ECF Nos. 100, 129, are GRANTED.
Maurice Monson ("Monson") is currently incarcerated
at Two Rivers Correctional Institution ("TRCI"), an
Oregon state prison located in Umatilla, Oregon. Am. Compl.,
ECF No. 31; Ans. to Am. Compl., ECF No. 43.
are employees of the Oregon Department of Corrections
("ODOC"): Defendant Heidi Steward
("Steward") is Assistant Director of Offender
Management and Rehabilitation; Defendant Stuart Young
("Young") is Assistant Administrator of Religious
Services; Defendant Dennis Holmes ("Holmes") is
Administrator of Religious Services; . Defendant Kelly Raths
("Raths") is Administrator of Inmate and Community
Advocacy; Defendant Cherie Jackson ("Jackson") is
an Office Specialist 2 in Religious Services; Defendant Don
Hodney ("Hodney") is Chaplain at TRCI; Defendant
John Myrick ("Myrick") is Superintendent at TRCI;
Defendant Nancy Howton ("Howton") was Administrator
of Offender Management and Rehabilitation until her
retirement in April 2015; Defendant Michael Gower
("Gower") is Assistant Director of Operations and
Acting Inspector General; Defendant Kim Brockamp
("Brockamp") is Deputy Director of ODOC; Defendant
Steve Franke ("Franke") is Administrator of
Eastside Institutions; and Defendant Collete Peters
("Peters") is Director of ODOC. Ans. to Am. Compl.
ODOC's Kosher Meal Policy
offers two dietary options to all inmates: the mainline meals
and the non-meat alternative line. Young Decl. Ex. 4, at 1,
ECF No. 104. The non-meat alternative is a vegetarian diet
with optional dairy components and it complies with all Old
Testament dietary requirements. Young Decl. Ex. 3, at 7;
Fanger Deck, ECF No. 102.
"practice and mission" is to "make every
effort to accommodate inmates' religious beliefs."
Young Decl. This includes providing diets designed to satisfy
the requirements of an inmate's religion. Young Decl.,
Ex. 1, at 2. As part of this policy, ODOC provides kosher
meals to inmates with sincere religious beliefs requiring a
kosher diet. Young Decl.
kosher diet adheres to the Jewish laws of kashrut, and is
derived from the laws of the Bible (the "Written
Torah") and from the rabbinic Oral Torah, which is
preserved in the Talmud and related texts. Vincent Decl. Ex.
3, at 3 (Affidavit of Martin Jaffee), ECF No.
The majority of kosher laws are not contained in the Old
Testament, but were developed through the oral tradition and
the Talmud. Vincent Decl. Ex. 3, at 6. ODOC's kosher diet
was designed specifically for Jewish inmates who adhere to
the laws of kashrut and was originally available only to
Jewish inmates. Young Decl. Ex. 2, at 2. ODOC's
kosher meals are produced in a factory, frozen, and then
shipped to the institution where they are reheated in a
microwave before being served to the inmate. Young Decl. Ex.
4, at 1.; Fanger Decl. The kosher meals do not contain meat,
but do include soy products that are made to look and taste
like meat. Young Decl. Ex. 4, at 1.; Fanger Decl.
ODOC kosher meals are served with a disposable tray, cup, and
tableware. Young Decl, Ex. 3, at 4. The TRCI canteen also
carries kosher items available for purchase by the inmates.
Fanger Decl. Kosher canteen items are listed on the order
form with a "K" to indicate their kosher status.
Fanger Decl. Ex. 3.
2009, ODOC revised its kosher meal policy as part of a
settlement agreement and began to consider requests for
kosher meals from non-Jewish inmates, if the inmates have
sincerely held religions beliefs that require a kosher diet
and that belief can be sustained by an organized religion.
Young Decl. Ex. 2, at 11; Ex. 3, at 1. Under a policy adopted
in 2012, if an inmate requests a religious accommodation, the
prison chaplain will give the inmate a form to fill out and
will interview the inmate in order to better understand the
request. Young Decl. Ex. 3, at 1-2, 9. The chaplain then
forwards the request to the Religious Services central
office, where a final decision on the accommodation is made.
inmate is approved for the kosher diet, the inmate may not
eat non-kosher food from the kitchen or canteen. Young Decl.
If an inmate violates this prohibition, he or she will be
counseled by the chaplain and risks losing the right to
continue receiving a kosher diet. Young Decl. Ex. 3, at 3.
mainline and non-meat alternative meals cost $2.60 per inmate
per day. Fanger Decl. It costs $6.75 per inmate per day to
supply kosher meals, exclusive of the additional costs of
maintaining kosher facilities and the additional staff time
involved in preparation of the meals. Fanger Decl. It costs
an extra $3, 029.50 per biennium to supply an inmate with
kosher meals. Fanger Deci. ODOC has investigated other means
of providing kosher meals and determined that the current
system is the most cost effective method of providing inmates
with a kosher diet. Fanger Decl. Purchasing the prepackaged
kosher meals in larger quantities would not yield a lower
price. Fanger Decl. There are currently 58 inmates who
receive kosher meals, costing ODOC $175, 711 in additional
expenditures per biennium, out of a total kitchen budget of
$27, 856, 277 for the 2015-2017 biennium. Fanger Decl.
has investigated how many inmates would request a kosher diet
if it were made more generally available. Vincent Decl. Ex. 2
(Declaration of Paul Bellatty). Although the investigation did
not yield a specific number, the results indicated that a
substantial percentage of inmates would request kosher meals,
with especially high interest indicated by Muslim and Seventh
Day Adventist inmates. Vincent Decl. Ex. 2, at 6. ODOC's
security budget is "strained, " and budgetary
limitations have already resulted in a reduction in the
quality of programming available for inmates and the amount
of protection ODOC is able to offer to inmates and staff.
Morton Decl., ECF No. 101.
describes himself as "a Rastafarian who is a biblical
believer, " or a "Rastafarian
Judeo-Christian." Vincent Decl. Ex. 1, at 10-11. Monson
does not identify as Jewish or Christian, but does
"adhere to Jewish laws." Vincent Decl. Ex. 1, at
5-6, 10, The "most observant" Rastafarians follow a
dietary law called Ital, which encourages its followers to
eat a vegan or vegetarian diet and to avoid chemically
altered foods, coffee, and dairy products. Vincent Decl. Ex.
1, at 9-10. Unlike a kosher diet, Ital does not require
rabbinical oversight. Young Decl.
asserts that his practice of Rastafarianism does not include
adhering to the requirements of an Ital diet. Vincent Decl.
Ex. 1, at 9-10. Although Rastafarians do not ordinarily eat a
kosher diet, Monson maintains that his sincerely held
religious beliefs require him to eat kosher meals. Vincent
Decl. Ex. 1, at 5-6, 9. In particular, Monson's religious
beliefs require him to strictly avoid contact with pork and
pork products, Vincent Decl. Ex. 1, at 12. Monson testified
that he believes all utensils should be disposable and that
anything that has come in contact with pork products must be
destroyed. Vincent Decl, Ex. 1, at 8, 12. Monson testified
that he was unaware of the highly processed nature of
ODOC's kosher meals. Vincent Decl. Ex. 1, at 12.
August 9, 2013, Monson first requested that he be provided
with ODOC's kosher diet, which Monson contends is
required by his religion. Young Decl. Ex. 5, at 3. In making
his request, Monson identified his religion as Rastafarian.
Young Decl. Ex. 5, at 3. Monson said that, in the
alternative, he would accept a vegetarian or vegan diet
without coffee or milk.Young Decl. Ex. 5, at 4. Monson said
that he was aware that the non-meat alternative diet met all
Biblical dietary laws, but claimed that it caused him to lose
weight, interfered with his blood pressure, and "enticed
[him] to buy commissary that also disagree with [his] blood
pressure." Young Decl. Ex. 5, at 4.
request was denied on September 5, 2013, "due to lack of
factual evidence to support that a kosher diet is rooted in
Rastafari faith tenets and because his canteen purchases did
not conform to kosher requirements or standards." Young
Decl.; Ex. 6, at 1. The letter of denial also noted that
Monson's medical file did not support his claim that he
required additional calories or a special diet for his blood
pressure. Young Decl. Ex. 6, at 1. Monson was informed that,
even if a legitimate health issue existed, ODOC's kosher
meals did not meet the health or dietary requirements Monson
described. Young Decl. Ex. 6, at 1. Monson was encouraged to
use ODOC's non-meat alternative diet, which offered food
most closely aligned to the requirements of a Rastafarian
religious diet. Young Decl. Ex. 6, at 1.
12, 2014, Monson once again requested a kosher diet. Young
Decl. Ex. 7, at 1. In this request, Monson identified himself
as a "Rastafarian-Judeo-Christian, " and cited his
belief in the Old Testament of the Bible and the Quran. Young
Decl. Ex. 7, at 2. In this request, Monson particularly
objected to pork products and to eating food prepared in the
same kitchen where pork products had been
prepared. Young Decl. Ex. 7, at 3. Monson claimed
that ODOC's non-meat alternative meals did not meet Old
Testament dietary standards because the same pots, pans, and
cooking utensils were used to prepare the mainline and
non-meat alternative meals. Young Decl. Ex. 7, at 3.
ODOC's subsequent inquiry revealed that Monson attended
two Muslim religious services and one Protestant Christian
service. Young Decl. Monson's second request was-denied
on August 5, 2014, "due to lack of factual evidence from
Rastafari religious leaders to support his request and his
canteen purchases-which included pork rinds-did not conform
to kosher requirements or standards." Young Decl.
Monson's canteen purchases, which included a number of
non-kosher items, were especially considered to demonstrate a
lack of sincerity. Young Decl. Ex. 8; Ex. 9. Monson was
informed that all cookware, kitchen utensils, and dining
utensils were properly cleaned and sanitized for each meal to
avoid cross-contamination with meat products. Young Decl. Ex.
8. Monson was once again encouraged to use the non-meat
alternative diet. Young Decl. Ex. 8.
October 7, 2014, Monson filed a grievance requesting a kosher
diet. Young Decl. Ex. 10. ODOC reviewed the grievance and did
not discover any evidence that a kosher diet is a tenet of
the Rastafarian religious practice. Young Decl. Ex. 11. ODOC
also noted that Monson's canteen purchases did not
reflect a sincere religious belief requiring a kosher diet.
Young Decl. Ex. 11. On November 10, 2014, ODOC denied the
grievance. Young Decl. Ex. 11.
December 7, 2014, Monson appealed the denial of his
grievance, alleging that ODOC had not adequately researched
his request. Young Decl. Ex. 12. Monson stated that he is a
"Rastafarian Judeo-Christian who believes in and follows
the Levitical and Deuteronomy laws of the Old Testament in
the Bible." Young Decl Ex. 12, at 1.
was unable to find any support for Monson's request in
Rastafarian religious practice. Young Decl. On December 22,
2014, ODOC denied Monson's grievance appeal. Young Decl.
Ex. 13. In its denial, ODOC requested that Monson provide
documentation "showing consistency in embracing
selectively the doctrines of three separate religious belief
systems." Young Decl. Ex. 13, at 2. ODCO also informed
Monson that they would be willing to revisit Monson's
request if he could demonstrate "clean" commissary
purchases for a few months and provide ODOC with evidence of
the existence of a Rastafarian-Jewish-Christian belief
system. Young Decl. Ex. 13, at 2.
January 28, 2015, Monson filed a second grievance appeal
asserting that he is a "12 Tribes of Israel
Rastafarian" and that his father was born in the
Rastafarian Bobo Shanti sect and that he required a diet that
complied with the standards of Leviticus and Deuteronomy.
Young Decl. Ex. 14. ODOC researched Monson's request and
found no support for Monson's claim that either the
Twelve Tribes of Israel Rastafarians or the Bobo Shanti
Rastafarians required or encouraged a kosher diet prepared
with rabbinic blessing or oversight, although ODOC found all
Rastafarian sources agreed on a vegetarian or vegan diet.
Young Decl. Ex. 15, at 1. On March 9, 2015, Monson's
second grievance appeal was denied and he was once again
encouraged to use ODOC's non-meat alternative diet. Young
Decl. Ex. 15, at 2.
commenced this action on March 27, 2015, ECF No. 1. On
January 8, 2016, ODOC placed Monson on a kosher diet during
the pendency of this case. Suppl. Young Decl. ECF No. 130.
ODOC has since determined that Monson will receive a kosher
diet for the rest of his time in ODOC custody, unless he asks
to be removed from the kosher diet or engages in behavior
that would render him ineligible for the kosher diet under
ODOC rules. Suppl. Young Decl.
judgment is appropriate when "there is no genuine
dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law." Wash, Mut. Inc. v.
United States\ 636 F.3d 1207, 1216 (9th Cir. 2011);
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The moving party must show the absence of
a dispute as to a material fact. Rivera v. Philip Morris,
Inc., 395 F.3d 1142, 1146 (9th Cir. 2005). In response
to a properly supported motion for summary judgment, the
nonmoving party must go beyond the pleadings and show there
is a genuine dispute as to a material fact for trial.
Id. "This burden is not a light one. . . . The
non-moving party must do more than show there is some
'metaphysical doubt' as to the material facts at
issue." In re Oracle Corp. Sec. Litig., 627
F.3d 376, 387 (9th Cir. 2010) (citations omitted).
dispute as to a material fact is genuine "if the
evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a
verdict for the nonmoving party." Villiarmo v. Aloha
Island Air, Inc., 281 F, 3d 1054, 1061 (9th Cir. 2002)
(quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S.
242, 248 (1986)). The court must draw all reasonable
inferences in favor of the non-moving party. Simmer v.
Verity, Inc., 606 F.3d 584, 587 (9th Cir. 2010).
"Summary judgment cannot be granted where contrary
inferences may be drawn from the evidence as to material
issues." Easter v. Am. W. Fin., 381 F.3d 948,
957 (9th Cir. 2004). A "mere disagreement or the bald
assertion that a genuine issue of material fact exists"
is not sufficient to preclude the grant of summary judgment.
Harper v. Wattingford, 877 F.2d 728, 731 (9th Cir.
1989). When the non-moving party's claims are factually
implausible, that party must "come forward with more
persuasive evidence than otherwise would be
necessary[.]" LVRC Holdings, LLC v. Brekka, 581
F.3d 1127, 1137 (9th Cir. 2009) (quotation marks and citation
substantive law governing a claim or defense determines
whether a fact is material. Miller v. Glenn Miller Prod.,
Inc.,454 F.3d 975, 987 (9th Cir. 2006). If the
resolution of a factual dispute would not affect the ...