On August 20, 1996, Muslim state prisoners housed at the California State Prison at Solano (Solano) filed a class action lawsuit against the California Department of Corrections under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Francisco Division. The plaintiffs, representing themselves, asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging that the defendants violated their First Amendment rights to free exercise of their religion, as well as their Fourteenth Amendment rights to Equal Protection of the law.
On August 23, 1996, the District Court (Judge Eugene F. Lynch) transferred the case to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, Sacramento Division.
On October 31, 1996, the District Court (Magistrate Judge Gregory G. Hollows) denied the plaintiffs' request for appointment of counsel. On January 30, 1997, Judge Hollows issued his Report and Recommendation, recommending dismissing the action. Following plaintiffs' objections, Judge Hollows vacated his Report and Recommendation on April 11, 1997.
On June 25, 1997, Judge Hollows directed the clerk to send the file to the Civil Rights Clinic at U.C. Davis Law School, for possible representation of plaintiffs. On July 24, 1997, Judge Hollows ordered other related cases stayed, pending the outcome of this case and another case (2:97-cv-625).
The U.C. Davis clinic decided to take on the case, and entered an appearnce in October 1997.
On September 1, 1998, the Magistrate Judge Hollows recommended that the plaintiffs' class be certified as all present and future Muslim inmates at Solano. On October 19, 1998, the District Court (Judge Frank C. Damrell, Jr.) adopted Judge Hollows' recommendation in full, and granted class certification with respect to the equitable relief claims. The District Court, however, dismissed the plaintiffs' claims regarding their inability to purchase and possess religious oil and prayer beads.
After extended discovery, and settlement conferences in May and June of 2000, the parties settled four substantive issues and agreed upon an accelerated litigation process for two remaining issues. On June 5, 2000, the Magistrate Judge Hollows memorialized and confirmed the agreements reached. Under the Settlement Agreements, the defendants agreed to hire a full-time Muslim Chaplain, allow Muslims to special order religious oils, allow the Muslim community to wear religious headwear, make best efforts to ensure that a Muslim diet is available. The parties agreed to litigate the disputed issues of beards and attendance at Juma'ah services.
On July 31, 2000, the District Court (Judge Lawrence K. Karlton) granted the plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction with respect to allowing Jumu'ah attendance, but denied it on the issue of defendants' prohibition of beards. On December 19, 2000, the District Court (Judge Karlton) again granted a preliminary injunction allowing Jumu'ah attendance. After the second preliminary injunction expired, on April 5, 2001, the District Court issued a successive preliminary injunction. Mayweathers v. Terhune, 136 F. Supp. 2d 1152 (E.D. Cal. 2001). The defendants appealed.
On July 2, 2001, the District Court (Judge Karlton) denied the defendants' motion to dismiss the plaintiffs' claim under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 2000cc. The defendants appealed.
Significant litigation followed as to the District Court's preliminary injunctions. On August 2, 2001, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (Judge Dorothy Wright Nelson) held that the District Court did not abuse its discretion when it renewed the preliminary injunction. Mayweathers v. Newland, 258 F.3d 920 (9th Cir. 2001).
From December 2001 to January 2003, the District Court issued various preliminary injunctions on the issues of inmate attendance at Jumu'ah services, beards and grooming.
On December 27, 2002, the Ninth Circuit (Judge Nelson) affirmed the District Court's denial of the defendants' motion to dismiss the plaintiffs' claim under RLUIPA on the grounds that it was unconstitutional. Mayweathers v. Newland, 314 F. 3d 1062 (9th Cir. 2002). The defendants' petitioned for a rehearing en banc. On January 27, 2003, the District Court (Judge Karlton) held that the status quo of the preliminary injunctions would be preserved, including automatic renewal every ninety days, during the appeals process. On October 6, 2003, the Supreme Court denied the defendants' petition for a writ of certiorari. Alameida v. Mayweathers, 540 U.S. 815 (2003).
On June 25, 2004, the District Court (Judge Karlton) granted the plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment and for a permanent injunction finding that the defendants' policies as to both grooming and attendance at Jumu'ah services violated RLUIPA. The District Court permanently enjoined defendants from issuing any discipline to inmates for attending Jumu'ah services or wearing half-inch beards for religious purposes. The Court ordered that the parties to meet and confer concerning the issue of expunging past inmate discipline records relating to the contested issues. Mayweathers v. Terhune, 328 F.2d 1086 (E.D. Cal. 2004).
The District Court awarded fees in the amount of $289,011 to plaintiffs' attorneys and taxed $23,675.38 in costs.
On September 6, 2006, the Ninth Circuit granted the defendants' motion to voluntary dismissal their appeal of the permanent injunction.
No further substantive action is noted on the PACER docket and the case was administratively closed.Josh Altman - 11/04/2006