University of Michigan Law School
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Case Name Bock v. Gold PC-VT-0003
Docket / Court 1:05-CV-151 ( D. Vt. )
State/Territory Vermont
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
On June 7, 2005, Plaintiff, a Jewish former prisoner, filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the District of Vermont under 42 U.S.C. §1983 and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act against five employees of the Vermont Department of Corrections (DOC) in their ... read more >
On June 7, 2005, Plaintiff, a Jewish former prisoner, filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the District of Vermont under 42 U.S.C. §1983 and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act against five employees of the Vermont Department of Corrections (DOC) in their official and individual capacities. The plaintiff, represented by private counsel, asked the court for damages and injunctive relief, alleging that the employees of the DOC denied or limited his ability to practice his Jewish faith during the time he was incarcerated. Specifically, the plaintiff claimed that the employees denied him minor modifications that would allow the plaintiff to observe his Jewish religion in a meaningful manner and denied his requests for certain food and religious items to celebrate Jewish holidays.

The defendants moved for summary judgment claiming that sovereign immunity protects the employees of the DOC from being sued in their official capacities and that injunctive relief was moot because the plaintiff was no longer incarcerated. On November 28, 2007, the District Court (Magistrate Judge Jerome J. Niedermeier) filed a report recommending that summary judgment be denied in part and granted in part. Judge Niedermeier agreed with the defendants that the claim for injunctive relief should be dismissed as moot and that the defendants were protected under the 11th Amendment in their official capacities. However, the report stated that the plaintiff produced enough evidence to make a reasonable inference of malice to support his claims for punitive damages against certain defendants in their individual capacities.

A settlement agreement was filed with the court and approved on March 21, 2008. The plaintiff agreed to release all claims against the State of Vermont and each of the named defendants in the present case in exchange for $25,000 and the acknowledgement that certain providers of religious food and articles are appropriate pursuant to the DOC's policies on religious observances. The parties agreed to dismiss the action with prejudice.

Ashley Grolig - 10/16/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief denied
Defendant-type
Corrections
Discrimination-basis
Religion discrimination
General
Food service / nutrition / hydration
Religious programs / policies
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Vermont Department of Corrections employees
Plaintiff Description Jewish former prisoner in Vermont State Department of Corrections
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Damages
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Voluntary Dismissal
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2008
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Civil Rights Injunctions Over Time: A Case Study of Jail and Prison Court Orders
N.Y.U. Law Review
By: Margo Schlanger (Washington University)
Citation: 81 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 550 (2006)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  Judicial Policy Making and the Modern State: How the Courts Reformed America's Prisons
By: Malcolm M. Feeley & Edward Rubin (UC Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law & Vanderbilt School of Law Faculty)
Citation: (1998)
[ Detail ]

Docket(s)
1:05-cv-00151-jgm (D. Vt.) 03/21/2008
PC-VT-0003-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Civil Rights Complaint Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act 06/07/2005
PC-VT-0003-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Civil Rights Complaint 06/07/2005
PC-VT-0003-0008.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment [Part One] 02/23/2007
PC-VT-0003-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment [Part Two] 02/23/2007
PC-VT-0003-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation 11/28/2007 (D. Vt.)
PC-VT-0003-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Ruling on Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation 02/07/2008 (2008 WL 345890) (D. Vt.)
PC-VT-0003-0007.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order of Dismissal 03/12/2008 (D. Vt.)
PC-VT-0003-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulation to Dismiss with Prejudice 03/21/2008
PC-VT-0003-0006.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Murtha, John Garvan (D. Vt.)
PC-VT-0003-0005 | PC-VT-0003-0007 | PC-VT-0003-9000
Niedermeier, Jerome J. (D. Vt.) [Magistrate]
PC-VT-0003-0004
Monitors/Masters Cassidy, Richard T (Vermont)
PC-VT-0003-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Hauptman, Aaron H. (New York)
PC-VT-0003-9000
Kade, Barry (Vermont)
PC-VT-0003-0006 | PC-VT-0003-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Kuehl, Kurt A. (Vermont)
PC-VT-0003-0003 | PC-VT-0003-0006 | PC-VT-0003-9000
Sorrell, William H. (Vermont)
PC-VT-0003-0003
Other Lawyers None on record

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