United States District Court, D. Idaho
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
Lynn Winmill U.S. District Court Judge
Court has before it plaintiff's motions to appoint
counsel, to electronically file, and to amend his complaint,
and defendants' motions for summary judgment. The motions
are fully briefed and at issue. For the reasons explained
below, the Court will deny the motions filed by plaintiff and
grant the motions for summary judgment filed by defendants.
plaintiff Jonathan Robert Jennings filed this action, he was
a prisoner in the custody of the Idaho Department of
Correction (“IDOC”), incarcerated at Idaho State
Correctional Center (“ISCC”). He has since been
released. He claims that while incarcerated, he was
discriminated against because of his religious beliefs.
Specifically, he claims that he was not provided food
consistent with his Jewish faith unlike other inmates who
were granted accommodations for their religious beliefs.
member of the Jewish faith, Jennings practices periodic
fasting on certain days, from an hour before dawn to an hour
after dusk. Because inmates are not allowed to keep a tray of
food or an extra lunch after the designated mealtime,
Jennings requested that defendants make available a meal for
him “to consume at the end of his religious fast,
” and that his request was denied, even though
defendants allow it for Muslim inmates during Ramadan.
Jennings alleges that as a result of his decision to fast and
defendants' refusal to provide him with a meal after his
fasting period is concluded, he goes without food for
“over 36 consecutive hours” when he decides to
addition, Jennings requested that, during the holy days of
Passover, he be provided with “a tray of food to be
made” that did not contain any leavened food, and that
his request was denied. Because Plaintiff's religious
beliefs require him to avoid leavened food during the week of
Passover, he went without food for that period of time.
Plaintiff alleges that Christian inmates are allowed a
special meal, along with a department-wide celebration, for
Christmas, but that no similar accommodation has been made
for Passover. Jennings has made similar claims under the
Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act
(“RLUIPA”) and Idaho's Free Exercise of
Religion Protected Act (“FERPA”), Idaho Code
§ 73-401 et seq.
defendants filed motions for summary judgment in November of
2018. On December 3, 2018, Jennings filed a motion for an
extension of time to respond, alleging that he was busy with
work and that his computer “freezes up and shuts
down.” See Declaration of Jennings (Dkt. No.
66-1). The Court eventually granted that motion,
effectively giving Jennings an additional three months to
file his response, the new deadline being March 11, 2019.
Jennings failed to file a response by that date, and has not
filed a response since that date.
for Summary Judgment
defendants argue that Jennings' claims have been resolved
in another case in which Jennings was a plaintiff and IDOC
employees were defendants. See Bartlett v. Atencio No.
1:17-cv-191-CWD. In Bartlett, Jennings alleged,
as he has here, that the IDOC failed to accommodate his
religious beliefs, and denied him his rights to freely
exercise his religion, by denying his request to provide him
with non-leavened food during Passover, requiring him to go
without eating for 8 days. He further claimed, as he does
here, that the defendants discriminated against him because
they made accommodations for different religious beliefs of
and his fellow plaintiffs eventually entered into a
settlement agreement in Bartlett. See Partial Settlement
Agreement (Dkt. No. 32-1 in Bartlett). While that
Agreement required the IDOC to accommodate Jennings'
religious beliefs, it did not resolve his individual damage
claim. Id. at pg. 8. However, about two months
later, Jennings and his fellow plaintiffs accepted an Offer
of Judgment for $93, 000, of which Jennings received $12,
000. See Judgment (Dkt. No. 41 in Bartlett, supra);
Statement of Facts (Dkt. No. 48 in this case) at ¶
preclusion applies when there is (1) an identity of claims;
(2) a final judgment on the merits; and (3) identity or
privity between the parties. Cell Therapeutics, Inc. v.
Lash Grp. Inc., 586 F.3d 1204, 1212 (9th Cir. 2009).
Here, there is a final judgment for $93, 000, as discussed
above. With regard to privity between the defendants,
Jennings sued in this case six IDOC employee defendants:
Blades, Wessels, McKay, Dietz, Fricks, and Luvisi. While
Jennings sued different IDOC employees in Bartlett,
the settlement agreement in Bartlett included the
IDOC and “all of their officers, servants, employees,
and all those in active concert or participation with
them.” See Partial Settlement Agreement (Dkt. No.
32-1 in Bartlett). That provision is broad enough to
sweep in the IDOC employee defendants in this case under
has also sued an additional four defendants - Black, Wright,
Solts, and Hartwig - who are employees of 3 Oaks Ministries,
a non-profit corporation that provided oversight of religious
activities and volunteer services at the IDOC under short
term contracts with IDOC. Jennings did not sue them in
Bartlett. Nevertheless, the 3 Oaks defendants were
“in active concert or participation” with the
IDOC defendants in providing ...