University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
Case Name Gartrell v. Federal Bureau of Prisons PC-PA-0033
Docket / Court 1:10-cv-02160-WWC ( M.D. Pa. )
State/Territory Pennsylvania
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
On October 20, 2010, a Muslim inmate confined to the Federal Correctional Institution in Minersville, Pennsylvania, filed a lawsuit in the the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act against the Federal Bureau of Prisons. The plaintiff, ... read more >
On October 20, 2010, a Muslim inmate confined to the Federal Correctional Institution in Minersville, Pennsylvania, filed a lawsuit in the the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act against the Federal Bureau of Prisons. The plaintiff, represented by counsel from the Pennsylvania Institutional Law Project and private counsel, asked the court for injunctive relief, declaratory relief, and monetary damages, claiming that his right to free exercise of religion was violated. Specifically, the plaintiff claimed that the prison's policy, which only allowed Muslim to pray in the chapel or their individual cells, precluded the plaintiff from praying while he was at work or recreation.

On October 12, 2011, Judge William W. Caldwell denied the defendants' motion to dismiss or, in the alternative, summary judgment. Judge Caldwell held that the record contained sufficient evidence to lead a reasonable finder of fact to conclude that the defendants substantially burdened the plaintiff's exercise of his religion and that the plaintiff's evidence was sufficient to create a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the plaintiff and other Muslim inmates were treated differently from similarly situated inmates with other religious beliefs.

On May 10, 2013, the parties agreed to a compromise, settlement and release of both the Religious Freedom Restoration Act claim and the equal protection claim. The defendants agreed to a policy that allowed Muslims to pray at work and recreation at the times required by Islam with adequate floor covering. The defendants also agreed to pay $150,000 in full satisfaction of all claims, demands and rights to attorney's fees, costs, and expenses. On June 3, 2013, Judge Caldwell dismissed the case.

Jessica Kincaid - 07/07/2014


compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Issues
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Free Exercise Clause
Defendant-type
Corrections
Discrimination-basis
Religion discrimination
General
Religious programs / policies
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Religious Freedom Rest. Act/Religious Land Use and Inst. Persons Act (RFRA/RLUIPA)
Defendant(s) Federal Bureau of Prisons
Plaintiff Description A Muslim inmate confined to the Federal Correctional Institution in Minersville, Pennsylvania
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2013
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
click to show/hide detail
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)
1:10-cv-2160 (M.D. Pa.) 06/03/2013
PC-PA-0033-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief, Monetary Damages and Attorneys' Fees 10/20/2010
PC-PA-0033-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: Plaintiffs' counsel
Order [Denying Motion to Dismiss] 10/12/2011 (M.D. Pa.)
PC-PA-0033-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: Plaintiffs' counsel
Agreement for Compromise, Settlement and Release of Religious Freedom Restoration Act and Equal Protection Claims 05/10/2013
PC-PA-0033-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: Plaintiffs' counsel
Judges Caldwell, William W. (M.D. Pa.)
PC-PA-0033-0002 | PC-PA-0033-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Fehretdinov, Maria A. (District of Columbia)
PC-PA-0033-9000
Golden, Deborah Maxine (District of Columbia)
PC-PA-0033-0003
Mancini, Laura A. (District of Columbia)
PC-PA-0033-9000
McPherson, Kelsey A. (District of Columbia)
PC-PA-0033-0003 | PC-PA-0033-9000 | PC-PA-0033-9000
Prins, Andrew (District of Columbia)
PC-PA-0033-9000
Sanders, Natalie N. (District of Columbia)
PC-PA-0033-9000
Yeh, Su Ming (Pennsylvania)
PC-PA-0033-0001 | PC-PA-0033-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Thiel, G. (Pennsylvania)
PC-PA-0033-0003 | PC-PA-0033-9000 | PC-PA-0033-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -