United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Western Division
ORDER DENYING MOTION TO RECONSIDER ORDER PARTIALLY
L. PARKER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Boaz Pleasant-Bey, an inmate at the Trousdale Turner
Correctional Center (“TTCC”) in Hartsville,
Tennessee, moves the Court to Reconsider its Order Partially
Dismissing the Complaint. (ECF Nos. 14 & 22.) For the
reasons that follow, this Court DENIES Plaintiff’s
sued pro se under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 concerning his
previous incarceration at the Shelby County Jail
(“SCJ”) in Memphis, Tennessee. (ECF No. 1 at
PageID 1.) He claimed various actions of Defendants violated
his rights under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized
Persons Act (“RLUIPA”), 42 U.S.C. §
2000cc(a)(1)(A)–(B), the Free Exercise and
Establishment Clauses of the First Amendment, and the Equal
Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. (Id.
at PageID 3–4.) This Court conducted a screening under
28 U.S.C. § 1915A and dismissed Plaintiff’s causes
of action: (1) for denial of religious services by failing to
hire a full-time Imam, (2) for failure to provide halal food
options, and (3) under RLUIPA. (ECF No. 9 at PageID
31–35.) Only the first two are the subject of
Plaintiff’s motion to reconsider.
Complaint, Plaintiff alleged that Defendants Shelby County
and Chief Jailer Robert Moore “have created and
enforced unconstitutional policies/customs that prohibit
inmates from conducting religious services at the
jail.” (Id. at PageID 4.) He alleged that
Shelby County and Chief Moore failed to hire a qualified
Sunni Muslim Imam to hold services, even though they employ
several Christian Chaplains to hold weekly church services.
(Id.) Plaintiff further alleged Aramark and Shelby
County treated Muslim inmates unfairly by failing to provide
halal food options. (Id. at Page 5.) He claimed
Defendants gave Muslim inmates the same non-halal food as the
general prison population, despite their religious beliefs.
his claim for denial of religious services, this Court held
Plaintiff lacked standing to assert First and Fourteenth
Amendment claims for failure to hire a full-time Imam because
he asserted these claims only on behalf of others. (ECF No. 9
at PageID 33.) And as to Plaintiff’s claim for failure
to provide halal food options, this Court held that (1) he
failed to allege standing to assert this claim, (2) he failed
to allege a policy or custom of either Aramark or Shelby
County was the “moving force” behind his
deprivation of rights, and (3) he did not have a
constitutional right to halal meats. (Id. at PageID
Sixth Circuit treats a motion for reconsideration as a motion
to alter or amend the judgment in districts that do not have
local rules on such a motion. In re Greektown Holdings,
LLC, 728 F.3d 567, 574 (6th Cir. 2013) (“Treating
a motion for reconsideration as a motion to alter or amend
the judgment makes sense when a party files a document titled
‘Motion for Reconsideration’ in a district that
does not have a local rule providing for such a
motion.”). A district court may grant a motion for
reconsideration or a motion to alter or amend a judgment only
when there is “(1) a clear error of law; (2) newly
discovered evidence; (3) an intervening change in controlling
law; or (4) a need to prevent manifest injustice.”
Henderson v. Walled Lake Consol. Sch., 469 F.3d 479,
496 (6th Cir, 2005). This interpretation limits parties from
raising new legal arguments that they could have raised
beforehand, rearguing a case, or introducing new evidence for
the first time when the party should have presented that
evidence earlier. See Shah v. NXP Semiconductors USA,
Inc., 507 Fed. App’x 483, 495 (6th Cir. 2012);
see also Hamilton v. Gansheimer, 536 F.Supp.2d 825,
842 (N.D. Ohio 2007) (stating that “[c]ourts should not
reconsider prior decisions where the motion for
reconsideration either renews arguments already considered or
proffers new arguments that could, with due diligence, have
been discovered and offered during the initial consideration
of the issue”).
requests reconsideration on two grounds: (1) the Sixth
Circuit’s holding in Pleasant-Bey v. Tenn.
Dep’t of Corr., et al., No. 18-5424 (6th Cir. Apr.
4, 2019); and (2) the Sixth Circuit’s pending ruling in
his appeal of this Court’s Order Partially Dismissing
the Complaint Pleasant-Bey v. Shelby County, et al.,
No. 18-6063. (ECF Nos. 14 at PageID 46–47; 22 at PageID
Pleasant-Bey v. Tenn. Dept. of Corr., et al., the
Plaintiff filed suit against the Tennessee Department of
Correction (“TDOC”), the TDOC Commissioner, and
several Northeast Correctional Complex (“NECX”)
officers claiming, in part, that his First and Fourteenth
Amendment rights were violated because NECX served non-halal
foods to Muslim inmates who adhered to a halal diet.
Pleasant-Bey v. Tenn. Dep’t of Corr., No.
18-5425 at 5. The District Court granted summary judgment for
the defendants, holding that Pleasant-Bey’s rights were
not violated because he “and other inmates on the Halal
meal plan at NECX are given some foods that can be considered
Halal even under the incredibly narrow definition employed by
the declarants.” Id. The Sixth Circuit
reversed, holding that “a genuine factual dispute
existed as to whether the defendants substantially burdened
Pleasant-Bey’s religious exercise in following a
“strict traditional Halal food diet, ” because
Pleasant-Bey filed an affidavit claiming that the menu mainly
consisted of processed foods violating his religious beliefs
and that he was denied adequate nutrition and caloric intake
as a result. Id.
Plaintiff claims that the Sixth Circuit’s decision is
grounds for reconsideration of this Court’s dismissal
of rights under RLUIPA and under the First and Fourteenth
Amendments for failure to provide halal food options. (ECF
No. 14 at PageID 46.) Plaintiff seems to argue that the Sixth
Circuit’s decision renders this Court’s dismissal
of his claim a clear error of law. (Id.) He claims
that the same facts occurred here-Defendants refused to serve
a proper halal food diet to adhering Muslim inmates. (ECF No.
1 at PageID 5.) Yet, this Court dismissed his claims in spite
of the Sixth Circuit’s ruling.
unlike in Pleasant-Bey v. Tenn. Dep’t of Corr.
where Pleasant-Bey claimed that the failure to provide halal
food denied him adequate nutrition and caloric intake,
Plaintiff’s Complaint here merely states that Muslim
inmates were being fed non-halal foods. (See ECF No.
1 at PageID 5.) Nowhere in his complaint does he allege that
he was deprived any adequate nutrition. (Id.) While
the Sixth Circuit has recognized that “prison
administrators must provide an adequate diet without
violating the inmate’s religious dietary restrictions,
” it has also held “[i]f the prisoner’s
diet . . . is sufficient to sustain the prisoner in good
health, no constitutional right has been violated.”
Colvin v. Caruso, 605 F.3d 282, 290 (6th Cir. 2010)
(quoting Alexander v. Carrick, 31 F.App’x 176,
179 (6th Cir. 2002)).
context, an “adequate diet” typically means the
“right not to eat the offending food item” and to
remain free from malnourishment while doing so.
Alexander, 31 Fed.Appx. at 179. In the absence of
any allegations that the non-halal food diet provided by
Defendants has caused Plaintiff to suffer from malnourishment
or a lack of adequate nutrition, he has failed to state a
claim for violations of his rights under RLUIPA and the First
and Fourteenth Amendments. The Court finds no reason to
reconsider its initial determination that Plaintiff’s