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Hardy v. Bureau of Prisons

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

June 10, 2019

Lajuan Hardy, Plaintiff,
v.
Bureau of Prisons; Federal Medical Center; G. Cooper, Acting Warden; G. Cooper, Associate Warden of Programs; Sara M. Revell, Regional Director; Ian Connors, Central Administrator; T. Miller, Captain; Bengston, Acting Lieutenant, et al.; Alcoser, Supervisory Chaplain, Defendants

          LAJUAN HARDY, PRO SE PLAINTIFF.

          GREGORY G. BROOKER, ESQ., ASSISTANT UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANTS.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          BECKY R. THORSON, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Pro se Plaintiff Lajuan Hardy alleges that his First Amendment free-exercise rights were violated when the Federal Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) did not accommodate a prayer on an Islamic holiday at the Federal Medical Center in Rochester (“FMC Rochester”). (Doc. No. 30, Second Am. Compl.) Defendants--the BOP and several BOP officials--move to dismiss. (Doc. No. 38.) For the reasons stated below, this Court recommends that Defendants' motion be granted.

         I. Background

         At all times relevant to this lawsuit, Plaintiff was an inmate at FMC Rochester. Plaintiff sues the following Defendants: (1) the BOP; (2) Acting Warden Gregory Cooper; (3) Regional Director Sara Revell; (4) National Inmate Appeals Administrator Ian Connors; (4) Captain Todd Miller; (5) Acting Lieutenant Christopher Bengtson; and (6) Supervisory Chaplain Ricardo Alcoser. (Second Am. Compl.) Plaintiff seeks five million dollars in compensatory and punitive damages. (See id.)[1]

         Plaintiff alleges that the Defendants prevented him from participating in the Eid al-Fitr prayer, which occurs at the end of Ramadan. (Second Am. Compl. 2.) He claims that he and other Muslim inmates had been placed on “callout” to the chapel to pray the Eid al-Fitr prayer, but the Chaplain department exhibited “gross negligence” in failing to ensure a staff member was available to supervise the Muslim observance of the prayer. (Id.) According to Plaintiff, he and other inmates were ordered to return to their units, told that the Chaplain would be contacted, and told that they would be brought back to the Chapel another time, which did not happen. (Id.)

         II. Analysis

         Plaintiff alleges claims under Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents, 403 U.S. 368 (1971), the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (“RLUIPA”), the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (“RFRA”), and the Federal Tort Claims Act (“FTCA”). (See Second Am. Compl.) Defendants move to dismiss under Rules 12(b)(1) (subject-matter jurisdiction) and 12(b)(6) (failure to state a claim) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.[2]

         A. Rule 12(b)(1)

         Defendants moving to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(1) may assert either a facial attack on a federal court's subject-matter jurisdiction, which looks only to the face of the pleadings, or a factual attack, which considers matters outside the pleadings. Croyle by and through Croyle v. United States, 908 F.3d 377, 380 (8th Cir. 2018). In a facial attack, the 12(b)(1) movant “asserts that the challenged pleading fails to allege sufficient facts to support subject matter jurisdiction.” Davis v. Anthony, Inc., 886 F.3d 674, 679 (8th Cir. 2018). The Court “restricts itself to the face of the pleadings, and the non-moving party receives the same protections as it would defending against a motion brought under Rule 12(b)(6).” Id.[3]

         B. Rule 12(b)(6)

         To survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a complaint “must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). Under this pleading standard, “[a] claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Thus, the Court in examining a motion to dismiss must determine whether the plaintiff raises a plausible claim of entitlement to relief after assuming all factual allegations in the complaint to be true. Id. at 558.

         C. Bivens

         Plaintiff alleges claims against the individual BOP officials in this action under Bivens v. Six Unknown Fed. Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), which implied a private right of action for allegations of constitutional violations made against federal employees. In Bivens, the Supreme Court created an implied cause of action based on a Fourth Amendment violation. Bivens, 403 U.S. at 397. The Court subsequently found the Bivens remedy available for violations of an individual's rights under the equal protection component of the Fifth Amendment Due Process Clause and for deliberate indifference to a serious medical condition under the Eighth Amendment. See Davis v. Passman, 442 U.S. 228, 230 (1979); Carlson v. Green, 446 U.S. 14, 17-19 (1980). ‚ÄúThese three cases- ...


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