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Case Name Kalwasinski v. Maxymillian MH-NY-0010
Docket / Court 9:09-cv-00214-GHL ( N.D.N.Y. )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Mental Health (Facility)
Case Summary
On February 20, 2009, a Muslim prisoner at the Central New York Psychiatric Center filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York. The pro se plaintiff sued the Director of the Sex Offender Treatment Program, the New York State Office of Health Commissioner, and ... read more >
On February 20, 2009, a Muslim prisoner at the Central New York Psychiatric Center filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York. The pro se plaintiff sued the Director of the Sex Offender Treatment Program, the New York State Office of Health Commissioner, and the Executive Director of the Central New York Psychiatric Center under 42 U.S.C. §1983. The plaintiff sought injunctive and monetary relief, claiming violations of the First Amendment Free Exercise Clause, the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment Due Process Clauses, and the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. The plaintiff alleged that his facility, the Central New York Psychiatric Center (CNYPC) did not allow him to properly participate in Al-Jumu’ah prayer services, forced him to attend classes on Fridays in violation of Muslim practice, and denied him food in compliance with Halal.

On March 17, 2010, the plaintiff moved for summary judgment. He argued there was clear evidence the CNYPC misunderstood the requirements for Al-Jumu’ah prayer and in doing so deprived him of Free Exercise. On April 14, 2010, the defendants filed a cross-motion for summary judgment, arguing (1) that the reason Al-Jumu’ah prayer has not been provided is that there are no Imams in the area who are available to facilitate, (2) the food offered in the cafeteria allows those following a Halal diet to sustain good health without violating their dietary laws, and (3) the utensils are sufficiently washed so as to be in compliance with Halal.

On December 23, 2010, Magistrate Judge George Lowe issued a report and recommendation to Judge David Hurd, (2010 WL 5620908), which Judge Hurd then adopted in full on January 20, 2011. Judge Hurd denied the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment while granting in part and denying in part the defendant’s motion for summary judgment. The surviving claims included the Free Exercise and Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act claims regarding the lack of Al-Jumu’ah services, the lack of a Halal-compliant menu, the denial of access to sacred food on religious holidays, and the requirement to attend classes on Fridays. The court dismissed the Free Exercise claims regarding bowls, utensils, and serving fish on Fridays; the Establishment Clause claim regarding serving fish on Fridays; the Due Process Claims; the Eighth Amendment claim; and the claim against the New York State Office of Health Commissioner. 2011 WL 195648.

After the appointment of pro bono counsel on September 29, 2011, parties moved to settle the lawsuit. On November 14, 2011, the parties consented to have Magistrate Judge Lowe oversee the negotiations and final resolution of the case. On February 7, 2012, the parties settled and Magistrate Judge Lowe signed off on the settlement the next day. According to the settlement, the defendants would pay the plaintiff $15,000, which included all damages, costs, and attorney’s fees, and the defendants further agreed to have a Halal menu in place and retain an Imam to lead Al-Jumu’ah services on Fridays. As no action has been taken on this case since, it is likely this case is closed.

Bryce Freeman - 10/01/2017


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Due Process
Free Exercise Clause
Content of Injunction
Hire
Reasonable Accommodation
Defendant-type
Hospital/Health Department
Discrimination-basis
Religion discrimination
General
Conditions of confinement
Food service / nutrition / hydration
Language/ethnic/minority needs
Placement in mental health facilities
Religious programs / policies
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Central New York Psychiatric Center
New York State Office of Mental Health
Plaintiff Description Muslim inmate at the Central New York Psychiatric Center who alleged that the facility violated his right to freely exercise his religion.
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Case Closing Year 2012
Case Ongoing No reason to think so
Additional Resources
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  Pierce County v. Washington
www.bazelon.org
Date: 2017
By: The Bazelon Center (The Bazelon Center)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Jane Doe v. Hunter College
http://www.bazelon.org/jane-doe-v-hunter-college/
Date: 2017
By: The Bazelon Center (The Bazelon Center)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Office of Protection and Advocacy v. State of Conneticut
http://www.bazelon.org/opa-v-ct/
Date: 2017
By: The Bazelon Center (The Bazelon Center)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  From Hospitals to Prisons: A New Explanation
http://cornelllawreview.org/clronline/from-hospitals-to-prisons-a-new-explanation
Date: 2017
By: Fredrick E. Vars & Shelby B. Calambokidis (Cornell Law Review)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
9:09-cv-00214-GHL (N.D.N.Y.)
MH-NY-0010-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/08/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
MH-NY-0010-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/02/2009
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Report Recommendation and Order [ECF# 42] (N.D.N.Y.)
MH-NY-0010-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/22/2010
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulation and Order of Discontinuance Pursuant to Rule 41(A) [ECF# 59] (N.D.N.Y.)
MH-NY-0010-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/08/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Lowe, George H (N.D.N.Y.)
MH-NY-0010-0002 | MH-NY-0010-0003 | MH-NY-0010-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Dignam, Brett M (New York)
MH-NY-0010-0003 | MH-NY-0010-9000
Kalwasinski, Edward (New York)
MH-NY-0010-0001 | MH-NY-0010-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Higgins, Dean J (New York)
MH-NY-0010-0003 | MH-NY-0010-9000

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