United States District Court, D. Minnesota
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION AS
Wilhelmina M. Wright United States District Judge
matter is before the Court on the June 5, 2019 Report and
Recommendation (R&R) of United States Magistrate Judge
Leo I. Brisbois. (Dkt. 41.) The R&R recommends granting
in part and denying in part Defendants' motion to dismiss
Plaintiffs' complaint. Plaintiffs and Defendants filed
timely objections to the R&R. For the reasons addressed
below, the Court overrules the parties' objections and
adopts the R&R as modified.
Kenneth Daywitt and William De'Angelo Kinnard are civilly
committed to the Minnesota Sex Offender Program (MSOP) in
Moose Lake, Minnesota. Daywitt practices Judaism and
“adher[es] to the dictates of his faith and eating
kosher food.” Kinnard adheres to Rastafarianism,
which requires “a strict vegan diet.” Defendants
are the director, program manager, kitchen supervisor, chief
cook, and registered dietician at MSOP-Moose Lake, who have
been sued in their official and individual capacities.
civil rights action, Plaintiffs seek declaratory and
injunctive relief, as well as monetary damages, for
Defendants' alleged violations of Plaintiffs'
constitutional and statutory rights. These alleged violations
pertain to MSOP's provision of kosher and vegan
foods-namely the lack of variety, insufficient caloric
content, and faulty preparation of the kosher and vegan foods
that MSOP serves. Plaintiffs assert that Defendants'
actions violate Plaintiffs' rights under the First
Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment to the United States
Constitution, the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized
Persons Act (RLUIPA), and the Civil Rights Act (federal-law
claims),  and the Minnesota Constitution and
Minnesota Rules 4665.2900 and 4665.3000 (state-law claims).
R&R recommends granting in part and denying in part
Defendants' motion to dismiss the complaint.
Specifically, the R&R recommends dismissing each of
Plaintiffs' claims, except Daywitt's claims alleging
that the insufficient caloric quantity in the kosher-food
offerings prevents him from freely exercising his religion in
violation of the Minnesota Constitution and the First
Amendment to the United States Constitution.
and Defendants timely objected to the R&R, and each
timely responded to the other's objections.
district court reviews de novo those portions of the
R&R to which an objection is made. 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3); LR 72.2(b)(3). In doing so,
the district court “may accept, reject, or modify, in
whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the
magistrate judge.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1);
accord Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b)(3); LR 72.2(b)(3). As
Plaintiffs are proceeding pro se, the Court
liberally construes their complaint and objections. See
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007).
Plaintiffs' Objections to the R&R
assert five main objections to the R&R's
recommendations, without specifically identifying any error
in the R&R's analysis. Specifically, Plaintiffs
object to the R&R's recommendations that the Court
grant Defendants' motion to dismiss as to Plaintiffs'
claims under (i) Minnesota Rules 4665.2900 and 4665.3000,
(ii) the freedom-of-conscience clause of the Minnesota
Constitution, (iii) the free-exercise-of-religion clause of
the First Amendment, (iv) the substantive-due-process clause
of the Fourteenth Amendment, and (v) the equal-protection
clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The R&R concludes
that each claim should be dismissed for lack of
subject-matter jurisdiction or failure to state a claim on
which relief can be granted.
a district court reviews de novo those portions of
an R&R to which objections are made, 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1), de novo review is not required in the
absence of specific objections to an R&R, see
Montgomery v. Compass Airlines, LLC, 98 F.Supp.3d 1012,
1017 (D. Minn. 2015) (observing that objections to an R&R
that “are not specific but merely repeat arguments
presented to and considered by a magistrate judge are not
entitled to de novo review”). Under such
circumstances, the court's review is for clear error.
Montgomery, 98 F.Supp.3d at 1017.
do not specifically object to the R&R's analysis of
their claims. Instead, Plaintiffs merely repeat the arguments
that they presented to the magistrate judge. Plaintiffs fail
to identify any fact or legal authority that the R&R
omits, overlooks, or mischaracterizes. Nor do Plaintiffs
present any argument that challenges the conclusions of the
R&R. Even when liberally construed, Plaintiffs'
objections do not address the R&R's legal analysis.
Consequently, the Court reviews these portions of the R&R
for clear error.
finding or conclusion is “clearly erroneous” when
the reviewing court “is left with the definite and firm
conviction that a mistake has been committed.” Edeh
v. Midland Credit Mgmt., Inc., 748 F.Supp.2d 1030, 1043
(D. Minn. 2010) (internal quotation marks omitted). Having
carefully reviewed the R&R and considered each of
Plaintiffs' objections, the Court identifies no clear
error in the magistrate judge's reasoning or recommended
resolution of Plaintiffs' claims.
the Court overrules Plaintiffs' objections.
Defendants' Objections to the R&R
object to the R&R's recommendation that this Court
deny Defendants' motion to dismiss as to Daywitt's
freedom-of-conscience and free-exercise-of-religion claims
that are founded on the allegations that the kosher-food
offerings lack sufficient calories to be nutritious.
Defendants argue that the magistrate judge erred in finding
that Daywitt has ...