University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Abdulmutallab v. Sessions PC-CO-0029
Docket / Court 1:17-cv-02493-KMT ( D. Colo. )
State/Territory Colorado
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
A Muslim prisoner in the custody of the United States Penitentiary-Adminstrative Maximum Prison in Florence, CO had gone on a hunger strike because he was denied a Halal diet in the course of his imprisonment. The prison he was housed in force fed him and, allegedly, did not intervene when other ... read more >
A Muslim prisoner in the custody of the United States Penitentiary-Adminstrative Maximum Prison in Florence, CO had gone on a hunger strike because he was denied a Halal diet in the course of his imprisonment. The prison he was housed in force fed him and, allegedly, did not intervene when other prisoners harassed him and other Muslim inmates during their Islamic prayer. The prison placed him under indefinite solitary confinement, and, under special administrative measures (SAMs), he endured extreme conditions of confinement, arbitrarily being denied any communication whatsoever with even his own sister.

On October 18, 2017, he filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado. The plaintiff sued Attorney General Jefferson Sessions, the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), and various agents of the Department of Justice (DOJ) all under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). The plaintiff, represented by private counsel, sought declaratory and injunctive relief as well as attorneys’ fees and costs. He alleged that the defendants violated RFRA and his First, Fifth, and Eighth Amendment rights. The case was initially assigned to Magistrate Judge Gordon P. Gallagher. The case was reassigned to Magistrate Judge Kathleen M. Tafoya on October 23, 2017, and then reassigned again to Magistrate Judge Raymond P. Moore on December 4, 2017. The plaintiff sought injunctive relief to remove his SAMs status, to prohibit defendant Sessions from reimposing SAMs, to require defendant BOP to remove the plaintiff from solitary confinement, and to prohibit defendant BOP from force-feeding the plaintiff or interfering with his First Amendment-protected freedom to practice his religion.

On February 2, 2018, defendant Sessions filed a motion to dismiss and a motion for partial summary judgment. In support of his motion to dismiss, Sessions argued that eleven of the plaintiff’s fourteen claims ought to be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction, failure to exhaust administrative remedies, and failure to state a claim. In arguing for summary judgment, Sessions claimed that the plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies. The court, however, denied both motions for their failure to comply with civil practice standards. On February 5, 2018, Sessions refiled the same motions, but with added features to comply with the court’s request. On February 8, 2018, the court granted the defense's motion to stay discovery.

On February 22, 2018, the plaintiff moved the court to either deny the motion for partial summary judgment, arguing that it was as premature because the plaintiff has not been able to conduct discovery. Or, in the alternative, the plaintiff asked to defer the court’s consideration until the plaintiff had been afforded an opportunity to obtain discovery regarding the defendant’s argument as to exhaustion of administrative remedies.

On April 14, 2018, the plaintiff filed an amended complaint. On May 11, 2018, Sessions renewed his motions to dismiss using similar arguments.

The case is ongoing. As of June 2018, the court had yet to rule on defendant Sessions dispositive motions.

Jake Parker - 06/18/2018


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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
Freedom of speech/association
Defendant-type
Corrections
Discrimination-basis
Religion discrimination
General
Administrative segregation
Assault/abuse by residents/inmates/students
Classification / placement
Conditions of confinement
Disciplinary procedures
Disciplinary segregation
Excessive force
Language/ethnic/minority needs
Religious programs / policies
Solitary confinement/Supermax (conditions or process)
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Religious Freedom Rest. Act/Religious Land Use and Inst. Persons Act (RFRA/RLUIPA)
Defendant(s) Attorney General Jeff Sessions
United States
Plaintiff Description A Muslim prisoner in the United States Penitentiary–Administrative Maximum in Florence, Colorado.
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filing Year 2017
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  Civil Rights Injunctions Over Time: A Case Study of Jail and Prison Court Orders
N.Y.U. Law Review
Date: May 2006
By: Margo Schlanger (Washington University Faculty)
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
Book
Date: Jan. 1, 1998
By: Malcolm M. Feeley & Edward Rubin (UC Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law & Vanderbilt School of Law Faculty Faculty)
Citation: (1998)
[ Detail ]

Docket(s)
1:17-cv-2493 (D. Colo.)
PC-CO-0029-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/08/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Injunctive Relief, Declaratory Relief, and Attorney's Fees [ECF# 1]
PC-CO-0029-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/18/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 42] (D. Colo.)
PC-CO-0029-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/08/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Complaint for Injunctive Relief, Declaratory Relief, and Attorney's Fees [ECF# 76]
PC-CO-0029-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/14/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Moore, Raymond Paul (D. Colo.)
PC-CO-0029-9000
Tafoya, Kathleen M. (D. Colo.) [Magistrate]
PC-CO-0029-0003 | PC-CO-0029-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Johnson, Gail K. (Colorado)
PC-CO-0029-0001 | PC-CO-0029-0002 | PC-CO-0029-9000
Kapoor, Amy B. (Colorado)
PC-CO-0029-0001 | PC-CO-0029-9000
Randolph, Aurora Lynn (Colorado)
PC-CO-0029-0002 | PC-CO-0029-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Moskowitz, David Z. (Colorado)
PC-CO-0029-9000

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