United States District Court, D. Minnesota
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
E. RAU UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter comes before the undersigned on Defendants Minnesota
Department of Corrections, Tom Roy, Gloria H. Andreachi,
Bruce Julson, Steve Hammer, and Bruce Reiser's
(“Defendants”) Motion for Summary Judgment [Doc.
No. 69] and Plaintiff Joel Marvin Munt's
(“Munt”) Motion for Summary Judgment [Doc. No.
76]. This matter was referred to the undersigned pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A) and District of Minnesota Local
Rule 72.1. For the reasons stated below, the Court recommends
that Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment be granted
in part and denied in part, Munt's Motion for Summary
Judgment be denied and this case be dismissed.
an inmate at Minnesota Correctional Facility Stillwater
(“MCF-STW”). See (Compl. at 1). In his
Complaint, Munt asserts a cause of action under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 grounded on allegations that the Defendants
failed to reasonably accommodate his religious beliefs in
violation of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized
Persons Act of 2000 (“RLUIPA”) and article 1,
section 16 of the Minnesota Constitution. See
(id.). In particular, Munt asserts that as a member
of the Christian faith, his “deeply held religious
beliefs include a prohibition against indecent
displays.” (Id. at 4). Indecent displays
include changing clothes in front of others, sharing a cell,
and using a toilet or shower in a public area.
(Id.). Because the prison cells at MCF-STW allow
corrections officers to view inmates in their cells, Munt
hangs a privacy sheet in his cell when changing, using the
toilet, or using the faucet to give himself a “bird
bath.” See (id. at 4-6). Furthermore,
Munt refrains from using the showers as he is “totally
exposed to anyone looking down” on him. See
(id. at 5). Munt understands that hanging his
privacy sheet is a violation of MCF-STW policy, and fears
that he will be retaliated against for the exercise of his
religious beliefs. See (id. at 5-6, 12-13)
(alleging that “[f]ailure to accommodate has caused a
great deal of fear of punishment and has forced this
suit”). As part of his Complaint, Munt asserts that
Defendants' stated security concerns are unfounded
because Minnesota Correctional Facility Oak Parts Heights
(“MCF-OPH”)-another facility in which Munt has
been incarcerated-“has private showers.”
See (id. at 13). Munt seeks declaratory
judgment and injunctive relief regarding these issues and
that Defendants be ordered to pay unspecified damages to Munt
on the basis of Munt bringing this lawsuit. See
(id. at 13-15) (asking that Defendants
“jointly and separately . . . reimburse” Munt for
bringing this lawsuit).
bringing this action-and in an attempt to allay his fears of
retaliation-Munt filed various kites, a grievance, and an
appeal with Defendants regarding the use of his privacy sheet
and shower access. See (id. at 7-11). In
response, Defendants proposed alternatives that would prevent
indecent displays and comport with safety and security
considerations at MCF-STW. See, e.g., (id.
at 10) (suggesting the use of towel to address modesty
concerns when using the toilet). The end result of this
grievance process was Defendants' statement that
Munt's religious beliefs were accommodated, that the
safety and security interests of the institution prevented
them from making any additional accommodations, and that
proposed alternatives addressed his religious beliefs against
indecent displays. (Id. at 11). Munt alleges that
his concerns regarding indecency are exacerbated by being in
a cell with another inmate (i.e., double-bunking).
(Id. at 4) (stating that “[w]hen sharing a
cell, it is one room and there is no privacy . . . (even with
a privacy sheet it is inadequate in this situation)”).
That being said, Munt did not appear to raise his
double-bunking concerns through kites and first raises the
issue in a grievance to Defendant Steve Hammer. See
(id. at 7-8) (submitted kites); (id. at 9)
(grievance); (id. at 10-11) (appeal).
Prior Motions for Injunctive Relief
filed his First Motion for Temporary Restraining Order
Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 65(b) (“Motion for TRO”)
[Doc. No. 3], and First Motion for Expedited Preliminary
Relief Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 65(a) (“Motion for
Expedited Relief”) [Doc. No. 5] (collectively
“Motions for Preliminary Relief”). This Court
analyzed Munt's allegations under Dataphase Systems,
Inc. v. C L Systems, Inc., 640 F.2d 109, 113 (8th Cir.
1981), in recommending that Munt's Motions for
Preliminary Relief be denied. See (R&R Dated Jan.
27, 2017, “R&R”) [Doc. No. 52 at 6-17]. This
Court concluded that “all Dataphase factors
weigh against granting Munt's Motions for Injunction
Relief” and “recommend[ed] denying his
Motion[s].” (Id. at 17).
specifically, this Court determined that Munt's claims
were too speculative to demonstrate irreparable injury and
that the probability of success on the merits did not warrant
the relief sought. See (id. at 10-11,
13-16). With respect to success on the merits, this Court
concluded that Munt had failed to substantiate a substantial
burden under RLUIPA, which “is fatal to his ability to
show success on the merits.” (Id. at 16). Munt
objected to the Report and Recommendation. See
(Pl.'s Objs. to Magistrate's Jan. 27, 2017 R&R)
[Doc. No. 54]. In addition to objecting, Munt submitted two
self-styled supplements that Munt asserted provided updated
factual information relevant to the adjudication of his
objection. See (Suppl. to Pl.'s Objs. to
Magistrate's Jan. 27, 2017 R&R) [Doc. No. 56];
(Suppl. 3 to Pl.'s Objs. to Magistrate's Jan. 27,
2017 R&R) [Doc. No. 59]. “Because it appeared from
the Supplements that changes had been made to the shower
facilities since the initial round of briefing, the Court
directed Defendants to submit a supplemental affidavit
addressing the new facts in Plaintiff's
Supplements.” (Mem. Opinion & Order Dated Mar. 29,
2017, “Judge Nelson's Order”) [Doc. No. 67 at
requested, Defendants submitted a supplemental affidavit to
which Munt filed an objection and his own affidavit.
See (Aff. of John Quist, “Quist Aff.”)
[Doc. No. 63]; (Objs. to Quist Aff.) [Doc. No. 64]; (Aff. of
Joel Munt) [Doc. No. 65]. John Quist (“Quist”),
currently the Program Director at MCF-STW, avers that
Munt's request to allow Munt to shower in another unit
could not be accommodated because Munt is housed based on
work assignment. See (Quist Aff. ¶¶ 1,
16). Specifically, Quist asserted, based on MCF-STW's
policy of “controlled movement, . . . where inmates
from one unit move at a time, ” that Munt's request
to shower in another unit “would require additional
staff and time to move one offender to another unit to
shower.” (Id.). With respect to Munt's
request for individualized shower time, Quist states
“[t]his special treatment would place a burden on
officer schedules, officer postings, controlled movements,
and other offenders' flag time. If Munt wants to shower
in a different unit, he can bid for another job and move
units.” (Id. ¶ 17). Lastly, Quist
unequivocally states “[a]n individual shower in
Munt's cell is not an option. None of the units at
MCF-STW have this option. Remodeling one cell in A-East would
go against MCF-STW policy and place a substantial burden on
personnel and costs.” (Id. ¶ 18). Quist
also avers that staff at MCF-STW do make some showering
accommodations-namely for transgendered inmates-on the basis
of safety and security concerns, because “[t]ransgender
offenders have a significantly higher risk of being attacked
in the shower.” (Id. ¶ 20).
objections to the Quist Affidavit range from objections
regarding his ability to adequately address the contents of
the Affidavit, disagreements with Quist regarding the nature
of whether the shower stalls adequately obstructs inmates
from being observed by prison staff, and arguing that
Defendants have provided nothing beyond bare assertions with
respect to this issue. See generally (Objs. to Quist
Aff.). Furthermore, Munt disclaims Quist's proposed
accommodations of showering in a different unit because this
alternative does not “meet [his] privacy
needs.” (Id. ¶ 12).
a de novo review, Judge Nelson adopted the Report
and Recommendation as modified in light of the original
briefing and supplemental submissions by the parties.
See (Judge Nelson's Order at 1-2, 7). In
particular-agreeing with the Report and Recommendation-Judge
Nelson concluded that Munt's allegations of shower access
and double-bunking were too speculative to constitute
irreparable injury. See (id. at 14-16).
Judge Nelson disagreed, however, that Munt has not
established a threat of irreparable harm with respect to his
privacy sheet. See (id. at 13-14, 16). With
respect to likelihood of success on the merits-sustaining
Munt's objection in part-Judge Nelson determined that
Munt was substantially burdened by the Defendants' policy
regarding privacy sheets but that “while this case is
in its early stages, Defendants are likely to establish that
prohibiting Munt from hanging a privacy sheet in his cell is
the least restrictive means of furthering the compelling
governmental interest in his safety and security.”
See (id. at 18, 23).
Motions for Summary Judgment
asserts that his beliefs against indecent displays are
sincerely held and that if he is not allowed to maintain his
privacy sheet, is forced to shower, or is moved into a
multiple-occupancy cell, his beliefs would be substantially
burdened. See (Pl.'s Mem. in Supp. at 9-16).
Munt further argues that because he has substantiated his
burden with respect to his beliefs being sincerely held and
that his beliefs are substantially burdened, the burden
shifts to Defendants to demonstrate a compelling governmental
interest. See (id. at 17-18).
respect to the prohibition against privacy sheets, Munt
argues that Defendants have not alleged any facts to support
their argument that privacy sheets prevent conduct that
Defendants suggest the policy is designed to mitigate, such
as tattooing, making alcoholic drinks, engaging in sexual
behaviors, or attempting escape. See (id.
at 18-19). In particular, Munt asserts that
“[Defendants] can show no incident where a privacy
sheet furthered any of these activates.” (Id.
at 19). With respect to tattooing, Munt alleges that
“if they actually sought to prevent tattooing they
would have to be rid of double bunking” because
“[t]hat is a common method by which prisoners appear to
get tattoos.” (Id. at 19) (emphasis omitted).
Regarding the making of alcoholic drinks, Munt asserts that
this rationale is “so absurd” that he does not
know what to say. See (id.). Munt therefore
believes “[t]here has to be a rational connection and
it just isn't there.” (Id.). With respect
to preventing sexual behavior, Munt asserts this reasoning
“is just a post hoc rationalization to try and justify
the policy.” (Id. at 20). Here, Munt raises
arguments similar to those related to tattooing; that if the
Defendants really wanted to prevent sexual activity they
would prevent double-bunking. See (id.).
Lastly, as it relates to preventing attempts at escape, Munt
asserts that hanging a sheet would be counterproductive
because “[a] raised sheet draws attention . . . .
Certainly a lookout would be more practical.”
evidence in support of his Motion for Summary Judgment, Munt
submitted an affidavit. See (Aff. of Joel Munt in
Supp. of Pl.'s Mot. for Summ. J., “Munt Aff. in
Supp.”) [Doc. No. 78]. Munt's affidavit is almost
identical to portions of his supporting brief.
Compare (Munt Aff. in Supp.) (containing
twenty-three paragraphs), with (Pl.'s Mem. in
Supp. at 7-9) (including nineteen paragraphs that are either
identical to or differ slightly when compared with the first
nineteen paragraphs in Munt's Affidavit in Support). In
particular, much of his affidavit is devoted to establishing
his religion; that his beliefs are sincerely held; that
Defendants' policies substantially burden his sincerely
held religious beliefs; and Defendants have indicated through
the grievance process that they will not accommodate his
religious beliefs. See (Munt Aff. in Supp.
¶¶ 1-9, 13-14, 19). Munt also states that certain
showers at MCF-OPH will accommodate his modesty concerns,
which demonstrates that showers at MCF-STW can be modified
while still maintaining the safety and security interests of
the prison, that the use of “privacy sheets are already
widely used” at MCF-STW and the widely used
“practice of guards asking if [an] inmate is okay when
a privacy sheet is up” has led to no incidents of which
Munt is aware and that “Defendants have disavowed
knowledge of such incidents.” (Id.
¶¶ 11, 15-17). Munt also asserts that he only uses
his privacy sheet as needed “to use the toilet, change
clothes, and bath[e]” and that when he is done with
these tasks, “the obstruction is removed.”
(Id. ¶ 22). The remaining portion of Munt's
Affidavit discusses recent changes to the showers at MCF-STW
and how those changes do not address his sincerely held
religious belief against indecent displays because the
interior of the stalls remain visible from certain vantage
points within the prison. (Id. ¶¶ 20-21, 23).
also filed multiple self-styled supplements to his Motion for
Summary Judgment: one each on July 20, 2017, August 21, 2017,
November 20, 2017, and the last on November 29,
2017. See (Suppl. to Summ. J. Aff.,
“Privacy Sheet Suppl.”) [Doc. No. 103]; (Suppl.
Two to Summ. J. Aff., “Double Cell Suppl.”) [Doc.
No. 105]; (Emergency Suppl. to Summ. J. Aff. “Second
Double Cell Suppl.”) [Doc. No. 112]; (Second Emergency
Suppl. to Summ. J. Aff., “Third Double Cell
Suppl.”) [Doc. No. 114]. With respect to the Privacy
Sheet Supplement, Munt provided a copy of a memo sent by
Defendant Gloria Andreachi (“Andreachi”) to all
inmates, which Munt asserts demonstrates that “the
privacy sheet ban was not previously enforced” because
Andreachi's memo states that the new policy will be
“[e]ffective immediately.” See (Privacy
Sheet Suppl. at 1); see also (Memo, Attached to
Privacy Sheet Suppl.) [Doc. No. 103-1]. Munt further
provides a sworn statement that he asserts reveals
“less restrictive alternative[s], ” although
these statements appear to evidence occasions in which
certain guards did not allegedly require that Munt take down
his privacy sheet. See (Privacy Sheet Suppl. at 1,
respect to the Double Cell Supplement, Munt asserts that he
has limited job opportunities (primarily working for building
management as a “swamper”) due to his poor
eyesight and “inability to work on Saturdays due to my
religious beliefs.” See (Double Cell Suppl. at
1). Furthermore, Munt “had been told that Building
Maintenance workers will be moving to another unit.”
(Id.). Munt asserts this “means that [he] will
almost certainly be placed in a double cell again-which [he]
will refuse.” (Id.).
in his emergency supplements, Munt asserts that he is now
double-bunked and will be “for at least 30 days.”
(Third Double Cell Suppl. at 1); see also (Second
Double Cell Suppl. ¶ 2). Furthermore, Munt asserts that
he is “frequently forced to take my privacy sheet down
and even when up [he] almost always ha[s] a cellmate in the
room, making it indecent even with the sheet.” (Third
Double Cell Suppl. at 2). Lastly, Munt asserts that
when he asked Quist about the single-cell-occupancy request,
Quist “had no knowledge such a procedure
existed.” (Id. at 1).
argue that the Eleventh Amendment bars Munt's claims for
damages against Defendants in their official capacities and
that those claims should be dismissed. (Defs.' Mem. of
Law in Supp. of Mot. for Summ. J., “Defs.' Mem. in
Supp.”) [Doc. No. 70 at 9-10]. In support, they assert
that a suit against an individual in their official
capacities is a suit against the state and that
“Congress did not abrogate immunity to claims for
damages in passing RLUIPA, and Minnesota had not consented to
suit.” (Id.). Defendants also argue that
RLUIPA does not provide a cause of action against Defendants
in their individual capacities and so those claims should
also be dismissed. (Id. at 10-12).
merits of Munt's remaining claims in his Complaint,
Defendants assert that Munt failed to establish violations
under RLUIPA or the Minnesota Constitution. (Id. at
12-24). As it relates to Munt's claims regarding the use
of a privacy sheet, Defendants argue that Munt failed to
establish any viable alternatives and “[t]he least
restrictive means to further the safety and security of
offenders, officers, and the facility is prohibiting
offenders from obstructing the fronts of their cells with
sheets.” (Id. at 16-17).
access to the showers, Defendants assert that the presence of
shower stalls at MCF-OPH that allegedly meet Munt's
criteria are only one consideration and not dispositive as to
whether the Defendants have failed to demonstrate that the
design of the shower doors at MCF-STW are the least
restrictive means of satisfying their compelling governmental
interests of safety and security. (Id. at 18-19). To
that end, Defendants argue they have substantiated their
compelling interest related to prison safety and security
because the showers are designed to meet the mandated
standards under the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003
(“PREA”). See (id. at 4-6, 19).
Furthermore, Defendants argue that Munt's request for a
private shower in his cell presents a number of concerns,
ranging from violations of prison policy against the
remodeling of one cell, to safety and security concerns
regarding the staffing of individualized shower time, to
logistical issues if Munt were to move. See
(id. at 20-21).
respect to Munt's requirements regarding single-cell
occupancy, Defendants argue that Munt has not exhausted his
administrative remedies in this regard. (Id. at
22-24). Specifically, Defendants argue that Munt failed to
follow the proper procedure for exhausting his claim because
he did not follow the proper chain of command, and instead
“first asked for a single cell restriction in his
second kite to Defendant [Steve] Hammer.” (Id.
at 23). In this respect, Defendants also assert that
Munt's grievances were improper. See
(id. at 23-24). For these reasons, Defendants assert
that Munt's claims related to single- and double-bunking
should be dismissed.
extent Munt's Complaint could be construed to raise more
generic claims arising under the First Amendment, Defendants
argue that RLUIPA provides a more strict test than
traditional First Amendment analysis and therefore anything
that is deemed to meet RLUIPA standards must necessary pass
constitutional muster under general First Amendment
principles.See (id. at 24).
support of their Motion for Summary Judgment, Defendants
submitted three additional affidavits. See (Aff. of
Steven Ayers, “Ayers Aff.”) [Doc. No. 71];
(Second Aff. of Gloria Andreachi, “Second Andreachi
Aff.”) [Doc. No. 72]; (Aff. of Bruce Julson,
“Julson Aff.”) [Doc. No. 73]. The Ayers
Affidavit discusses the nature of the showers at MCF-OPH.
See generally (Ayers Aff.). In particular, Ayers
MCF-OPH shower doors are not full length doors. The shower
doors have openings at the top and bottom of the door.
Officers must be able to see offenders' feet when they
are showering. Being able to see offenders' feet is to
ensure that only one offender is in a shower stall at a time.
(Id. ¶ 5). The Andreachi Affidavit addresses
Munt's single- and double-bunking history while at
MCF-STW. See generally (Second Andreachi Aff.).
Andreachi avers that “[s]ince September 23, 2015, Munt
has resided in a single-occupancy cell.” (Id.
¶ 3). Furthermore, Andreachi asserts that Munt
“currently does not have a single-cell occupancy
restriction. If Munt wants to have a single-cell occupancy
restriction, he would need to submit a request. MCF-STW staff
review offender requests for single-occupancy
restrictions” and that “Munt has not requested a
single-cell occupancy restriction since he arrived at
MCF-STW.” (Id. ¶¶ 5-6).
Julson Affidavit addresses a number of different topics
including Munt's requests for exceptions to the privacy
sheet policy, MCF-STW's single- and double-bunking
policy, and the shower remodel conducted to comply with
PREA's standards. See generally (Julson Aff.).
With respect to the privacy sheet policy, Julson stated that
Before MCF-STW implemented the DOC and PREA privacy sheet
policies, part of offender cells used to be partially
blocked. During this time, I recall numerous incidents when
offenders engaged in self-injurious behavior such as cutting,
offenders were attacked, raped, and some offenders committed
suicide by hanging themselves directly behind the portion of
the cell bars that were blocked.
(Id. ¶ 5). Furthermore, Julson asserted
As Program Director I also had concerns about the safety and
security risks privacy sheets posed to officers such as an
offender attacking an officer and bringing him or her into
his cell and out of view of the cameras and other officers.
If officers saw a privacy sheet and did not instruct the
offender to remove it and ensure that offender removed it,
the officer would be disciplined.
(Id. ¶ 7). With respect to the shower remodel,
The A-East showers were remodeled to conform to PREA
standards. I was on the MCF-STW PREA Committee as we were
preparing for the required PREA audits. PREA is a federal act
with the purpose of protecting, reducing, and eliminating
prison rape. PREA requires that all correctional facilities
comply with certain standards. The MCF-STW PREA Committee
reviewed the PREA standards, discussed any changes or
additions to standards, implemented the standards, and
participated in the PREA auditing process. . . .
MCF-STW's A-East shower design and remodel were completed
and approved by the DOC to comply with PREA's purpose and
(Id. ¶ 12). Finally, as it relates to the
bunking policy at MCF-STW, Julson stated he does not recall
“Munt ever [sending him] a kite on his single ...