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Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Roberts v. Sinclair PC-WA-0027
Docket / Court 2:18-cv-00837-RSM-BAT ( W.D. Wash. )
State/Territory Washington
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Attorney Organization Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
Case Summary
A group of practicing Muslim prisoners at the Monroe Correctional Complex filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington on June 10, 2018, alleging that prison staff deprived them of nighttime meals while they were fasting during Ramadan. Represented by the ... read more >
A group of practicing Muslim prisoners at the Monroe Correctional Complex filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington on June 10, 2018, alleging that prison staff deprived them of nighttime meals while they were fasting during Ramadan. Represented by the Center for American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), they brought this action against the Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC) and sought declaratory and emergency injunctive relief. According to the plaintiffs, despite their requests, the prison chaplain refused to add them to a list of prisoners to be served specially-timed meals during the month of Ramadan (“the Ramadan List”), in effect subjecting them to a “starvation policy” because the normal schedule for meals at the prison all fell within the time of day when they are fasting. They alleged that this violated the First Amendment's Free Exercise Clause, the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause, the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment, and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA).

Along with their complaint, the plaintiffs also filed a motion temporary restraining order that would force the prison to provide them with legally adequate meals through the end of Ramadan; that motion was granted by District Judge Ronald B. Leighton the same day–June 10, 2018.

In its answer filed on July 5, 2018, the DOC denied virtually all of the pertinent allegations in the complaint. It disputed the plaintiffs’ contention that it refused to add them to the Ramadan List, maintaining that the prisoners had not signed up during the established sign-up period. It denied the existence of a “starvation policy” towards Muslims at the prison. Finally, it made a number of different affirmative defenses, including qualified immunity for state government officials.

As of August 1, 2018, the case has been assigned to District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez and is still ongoing.

Alexander Walling - 08/01/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Due Process
Equal Protection
Free Exercise Clause
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief granted
Defendant-type
Corrections
Discrimination-basis
Religion discrimination
General
Assault/abuse by staff
Conditions of confinement
Food service / nutrition / hydration
Language/ethnic/minority needs
Religious programs / policies
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) Washington State Department of Corrections
Plaintiff Description Prisoners at the Monroe Correctional Complex who are practicing Muslims.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Source of Relief Litigation
Filing Year 2018
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)
2:18-cv-00837-RSM (W.D. Wash.)
PC-WA-0027-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/02/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
PC-WA-0027-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/10/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Martinez, Ricardo S. (W.D. Wash.)
PC-WA-0027-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Abbas, Gadeir Ibrahim (District of Columbia)
PC-WA-0027-0001 | PC-WA-0027-9000
Gairson, Jay W. (Washington)
PC-WA-0027-0001 | PC-WA-0027-9000
Homer, Carolyn M. (District of Columbia)
PC-WA-0027-9000
Masri, Lena Fatina (District of Columbia)
PC-WA-0027-0001 | PC-WA-0027-9000
Misasi, Amanda Nicole (Washington)
PC-WA-0027-9000
Mohamed, Ahmed M. (District of Columbia)
PC-WA-0027-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Feulner, Timothy J. (Washington)
PC-WA-0027-9000
Lang, Timothy Norman (Washington)
PC-WA-0027-9000

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