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DeLoney v. Snyder

United States District Court, D. Nevada

October 10, 2017

DONALD DELONEY, Plaintiff,
v.
RICHARD SNYDER, et. al., Defendants.

          REPORT & RECOMMENDATION OF U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE ECF NO. 10

          WILLIAM G. COBB UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         This Report and Recommendation is made to the Honorable Miranda M. Du, United States District Judge. The action was referred to the undersigned Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and the Local Rules of Practice, LR IB 1-4.

         Before the court is Plaintiffs Motion for Injunctive Relief, Preliminary Injunction or Permanent Injunction against Richard Snyder, Chaplain. (ECF No. 10.) Defendant Richard Snyder filed a response. (ECF No. 18.) Plaintiff did not file a reply brief.

         After a thorough review, it is recommended that Plaintiffs motion be denied as moot.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff is an inmate in the custody of the Nevada Department of Corrections (NDOC), proceeding prose with this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Compl,, ECF No. 15.) The events giving rise to this action took place while Plaintiff was housed at Warm Springs Correctional Center (WSCC). (Id.) Defendant is WSCC Chaplain Richard Snyder.

         In his complaint, Plaintiff alleges that from January 1, 2016 to March 3, 2016, he was the appointed inmate facilitator for Muslim inmate services at WSCC. (ECF No. 15 at 3.) He avers that Snyder created an unwritten policy requiring Plaintiff to submit a handwritten copy of each word he planned to say during Muslim services one week prior to the scheduled services, and if he failed to do so, he would not be permitted to speak at the services at all. (Id. at 3-4.) Snyder i allegedly told Plaintiff that if he deviated at all from the written statement, he would be removed from his facilitator position and written up for disciplinary charges. (Id. at 4.) On two occasions, Plaintiff did not provide a written statement to Snyder a week in advance, and Snyder refused to permit Plaintiff to speak as facilitator. (Id.) He claims that he filed a grievance, and Snyder became enraged and relieved Plaintiff of his facilitator position. (Id. at 5.)

         Based on these allegations, the court allowed Plaintiff to proceed with claims under the First Amendment, the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), as well as a retaliation claim. (Screening Order, ECF No. 14.)

         Plaintiff also alleges that Snyder intentionally prohibited Muslim inmates from religiously communicating during their service while Christian inmates are permitted to do so. (Id. at 7-9.) The court allowed Plaintiff to proceed with an equal protection claim based on these allegations. (ECF No. 14.)

         Finally, Plaintiff alleges that between October 3, 2015 and May 20, 2016, he was the inmate facilitator for Muslim services, and he asked Snyder to reschedule the Jumah Friday Muslim prayer services from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. to 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., to more correctly reflect the appropriate time Muslims are supposed to pray in accordance with Islamic law and tradition. (ECF No. 15 at 11-12.) Snyder refused. (Id.) Based on these allegations, Plaintiff was permitted to proceed with additional claims under the First Amendment and RLUIPA. (ECF No. 14.)

         In his motion for injunctive relief, Plaintiff claims that Snyder suspended Islamic services at WSCC until he could find an outside Imam to preside over the service. (ECF No. 10 at 2.) Plaintiff claims that NDOC has never required an outside Imam in the past, and it is not required by his faith. (Id. at 2-4.) He asks for Snyder to be removed from his duties until this case is heard. (Id. at 4.)

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         Rule 65 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provide that a "court may issue a preliminary injunction only on notice to the adverse party." Fed.R.Civ.P. 65(a)(1).

         The purpose of a preliminary injunction is to preserve the status quo if the balance of equities so heavily favors the moving party that justice requires the court to intervene to secure the positions until the merits of the action are ultimately determined. University of Texas v. Camenisch, 451 U.S. 390, 395 (1981). A preliminary injunction is an "extraordinary and drastic remedy" that is ...


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