Brown v. Groom ( 2006 )

  •                                                        United States Court of Appeals
                                                                    Fifth Circuit
                                                                 F I L E D
                           FOR THE FIFTH CIRCUIT                  April 10, 2006
                                                              Charles R. Fulbruge III
                               No. 04-41306
                             Summary Calendar
              Appeal from the United States District Court
                   for the Southern District of Texas
                           USDC No. 2:01-CV-5
    Before SMITH, GARZA, and PRADO, Circuit Judges.
         Appellants appeal the district court’s finding, in its
    partial denial of their second motion for summary judgment, that
    they were not entitled to qualified immunity with respect to the
    First Amendment claim brought against them in a civil rights suit
           Pursuant to 5TH CIR. R. 47.5, the court has determined that
    this opinion should not be published and is not precedent except
    under the limited circumstances set forth in 5TH CIR. R. 47.5.4.
                               No. 04-41306
    by Bobby Brown, Texas prisoner #1124005.   We conclude, after
    considering the allegations in Brown’s verified pleadings, the
    testimony by Brown at an evidentiary hearing before the district
    court, and the documentary evidence submitted by the defendants
    and Brown, that the district court’s ruling should be affirmed.
    See Behrens v. Pelletier, 
    516 U.S. 299
    , 313 (1996); Colston v.
    130 F.3d 96
    , 98-99 (5th Cir. 1997); Harlow v.
    457 U.S. 800
    , 818 (1982); O’Lone v. Estate of
    482 U.S. 342
    , 348 (1987).
         Summary-judgment decisions are reviewed de novo, applying
    the same test as the district court.   E.g., Skotak v. Tenneco
    Resins, Inc., 
    953 F.2d 909
    , 912 (5th Cir. 1992).   According to
    the defendants’ own summary judgment evidence, the defendants
    were supposed to resolve any “discrepancy or question with the
    [Ramadan] list” by checking with the prison chaplaincy
    department.   There was no evidence that the defendants contacted
    the chaplaincy department either after Brown told them he was
    supposed to be participating in Ramadan or after he showed them a
    lay-in pass, which contrary to usual Ramadan practice, was only
    for the morning Ramadan services and meals.   Importantly, while
    the defendants raised several questions concerning the lay-in
    pass, they did not contest the authenticity or validity of the
    pass.   Accordingly, the district court was correct in concluding
    that, based upon the summary judgment evidence, the defendants
                                 No. 04-41306
    were not, as a matter of law, entitled to qualified immunity.
    See FED. R. CIV. P. 56(c).
         The defendants’ arguments on appeal regarding the specific
    allegations against each of them do not show that the district
    court erred in finding they were not entitled to qualified
    immunity.   The defendants argue that Officer Tamez is qualifiedly
    immune because, according to Brown, it was Lieutenant Masters,
    not Officer Tamez, that would not let Brown eat and attend
    services on December 19, 2000.    Brown testified during the
    evidentiary hearing, however, that both Lieutenant Masters and
    Officer Tamez refused to let him participate in a morning meal
    and service.
         Their arguments regarding Sergeant Ford fail because Brown
    had a lay-in pass with an effective date of November 28, 2000,
    and he therefore produced at least some evidence that his name
    was on a hard copy of the list during the time he was in the
    transitional building.   Ford, on the other hand, produced no
    evidence that he attempted to check the hard copy of the Ramadan
    list after Brown told him he was supposed to be participating in
    Ramadan or after Brown showed him the lay-in pass.
         With respect to Lieutenant Daniels, the defendants have not
    explained why the lockdown in the dining room was a valid reason
    for not allowing Brown to attend prayer services after he ate.
    The defendants’ arguments concerning Sergeant Castro also fail.
    Brown alleged in his verified response to the defendants’ summary
                                 No. 04-41306
    judgment motion that he showed his lay-in pass to the defendants,
    and he testified in the evidentiary hearing that Castro did not
    allow him to get his Ramadan meal, even after he advised her that
    he needed a meal because he had been fasting all day due to
         The district court did not err in denying Sergeant
    Gallegos’s1 and Officer Quinones’s claims of qualified immunity.
    The defendants rely on Green v. McKaskle, 
    788 F.2d 1116
    , 1126
    (5th Cir. 1986), for the proposition that when a prisoner is
    prevented by circumstances from attending an occasional religious
    service, such an occasional denial of the right to attend
    services does not violate the prisoner’s right to practice his
    religion.   Green is distinguishable from this case because it
    concerned a Baptist prisoner’s desire to attend more than one
    service on Sundays.   Id.    Here, the prison policy recognized
    that, during Ramadan, Muslim prisoners would participate in two
    daily prayer services and two daily meals.    The defendants’
    contention that Brown was precluded from services because he
    refused to tuck in his shirt is unavailing.    Brown testified that
    he had a medical pass allowing him to keep his shirt untucked
    because he had a catheter.     The defendants did not produce any
    evidence refuting that testimony, and they have therefore not
    explained why Brown’s failure to have his shirt tucked in allowed
              The style spells the name “Galleos.” The briefs,
    however, indicate that the correct spelling is “Gallegos.”
                              No. 04-41306
    them to refuse him participation in Ramadan.   The district
    court’s partial denial of the defendants’ second summary judgment
    motion is AFFIRMED.