United States District Court, D. New Hampshire
Paige, pro se
Whitaker, pro se
David Plourde, Esq.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
K. Johnstone United States Magistrate Judge
Lamont Paige has filed a motion for a preliminary injunction
(Doc. No. 2). Defendants object (Doc. Nos. 5, 7). The motion
has been referred to the undersigned magistrate judge for a
hearing, if necessary, and a report and recommendation,
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B).
a Sunni Muslim incarcerated at the Federal Correctional
Institution in Berlin, New Hampshire
(“FCI-Berlin”), seeks this court's
intervention to ensure that he may participate with the Sunni
Muslim community in congregational prayer followed by a
ceremonial meal on August 22, 2018 to celebrate Eid al Adha.
Paige asserts that the chapel was locked on the date of Eid
al Adha in 2017, and that no ceremonial meal was offered to
Sunni Muslims on that date. Paige asserts that his contacts
with defendant Warden Robert Hazlewood have led Paige to
conclude that no preparations have been made this year to
allow Sunni Muslim inmates to celebrate Eid al Adha. Paige
requests that this court order the warden to comply with
Federal Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) policies and
regulations, concerning the accommodation of inmate religious
practices, by permitting chapel services and ceremonial meals
on Eid al Adha.
argue that the motion is moot, as it is premised on
Paige's mistaken belief that prison officials have not
taken steps consistent with BOP regulations and policies to
schedule Eid al Adha events at FCI-Berlin. Defendants
represent that necessary preparations have been made, that a
ceremonial meal and chapel services have been scheduled for
August 22, 2018, and that a sign-up sheet for inmates has
been posted and will remain open through August 10, 2018.
See Doc. No. 7. Exhibits filed by defendants show
that plaintiff Paige is among the inmates granted
accommodations to attend the events. See Doc. Nos.
7-1, 7-2. Associate Warden Cully Stearns's declaration
avers that co-plaintiff Kevin Whitaker and other inmates who
sign up by August 10 will also be allowed to take part.
See Doc. No. 7-1.
plaintiff seeking a preliminary injunction must establish
that he is likely to succeed on the merits, that he is likely
to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary
relief, that the balance of equities tips in his favor, and
that an injunction is in the public interest.'”
Glossip v. Gross, 135 S.Ct. 2726, 2736 (2015)
(citation omitted). Irreparable harm and the likelihood of
success weigh most heavily in the analysis. Winter v.
Nat. Res. Def. Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 22 (2008);
Voice of the Arab World, Inc. v. MDTV Med. News Now,
Inc., 645 F.3d 26, 32 (1st Cir. 2011). The burden of
proof is on the movant. See Esso Std. Oil Co. v.
Monroig-Zayas, 445 F.3d 13, 18 (1st Cir. 2006).
court held two case management telephone conferences on the
record, on August 3 and 6, 2018, relating to the motion for a
preliminary injunction. Plaintiffs stated in those calls that
although they had received Document No. 7, they had not
received Document No. 5 and all of defendants' exhibits.
The court took steps to make plaintiffs aware of the contents
of the pertinent filings and exhibits in both conference
calls, and then invited plaintiffs to raise any concerns they
might have regarding defendants' proffered evidence.
Whitaker expressed concern that the sign-up sheets might not
be sufficiently clear and legible, such that inmates might
not know whether, and how, to sign up for the August 22
events, and he asked whether inmates would need to make
individual requests for work accommodations for the holy day.
Associate Warden Cully Stearns's declaration, Doc. No. 7-
1, supplemented by his statements on the record in the August
6, 2018 conference call, indicate that inmates may find out
about, and sign up for, the August 22 events through a
sign-up sheet posted by the chapel which will remain open
through August 10, 2018; through information on TRULINCS;
through information and a sign-up sheet that will be
available to inmates attending the August 10, 2018
Jumu'ah services; and/or by contacting the chaplain or
Associate Warden Stearns directly. Stearns further asserted
that town-hall meetings have been held in each of the
prison's units, to let inmates know about the Eid al Adha
events. Defendants have represented that the names of inmates
who sign up by August 10, 2018 will be entered into
FCI-Berlin's Sentry database so that they will be excused
from work on August 22, 2018, without their having to ask for
such leave individually. See Doc. Nos. 7-1, 7-2.
Paige expressed a concern that prison officials, unless
enjoined from doing so, could cancel the August 22 Eid al
Adha events, citing safety and security issues. Plaintiff
pointed out that in 2017, the chapel was locked on Eid al
Adha, and that prison officials cited safety and security as
the reason why. Defendants responded that BOP regulations and
policies allow prison officials to restrict attendance at
religious ceremonies for prison safety and security reasons,
see 28 U.S.C. §§ 548.10(b), 548.18;
see also BOP Program Statement P5360.09 ¶¶
7, 16 (Doc. No. 5-1).
finding of irreparable harm must be grounded on something
more than conjecture, surmise, or a party's
unsubstantiated fears of what the future may have in
store.” Charlesbank Equity Fund II, Ltd. P'ship
v. Blinds To Go, Inc., 370 F.3d 151, 162 (1st Cir.
2004). Absent any showing of bad faith, and without any
grounds for finding that current conditions in the prison are
likely to result in prison officials acting as they did under
conditions that existed a year ago, events that occurred in
2017 do not provide an adequate evidentiary basis for this
court to conclude that injunctive relief is needed to avoid
irreparable harm this year. Accordingly, the district judge
should deny the preliminary ...