United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division
JOHN A. GIBNEY, District Judge.
Wink Hayes, a Virginia inmate proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this civil action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In his Amended Complaint (ECF No. 22), Hayes names as defendants: J. Boone, the former Assistant Warden at Greensville Correctional Center ("GCC"); Ralph Abernathy, the Food Service Director; Wendy Hobbs, the Regional Administrator; and the Commonwealth of Virginia. Hayes "is a sincere believer in the religion of Islam as taught by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad...." (Am. Comp. ¶ 2.) Hayes's claims concern the religious celebration of Ramadan in 2011 when, due to Hurricane Irene, the Defendants temporarily ceased to provide Hayes with his religiously prescribed diet. ( See id. ¶¶ 6-11.) Specifically, Hayes raises the following grounds for relief:
Claim One "Defendants Boone, Abernathy, and Hobbs... violated Plaintiffs right to practice his religion by suspending his Common Fare Diet during his observance of the 2011 Ramadan... in violation of the First Amendment." ( Id at 2 (emphasis omitted).)
Claim Two "Defendants, Boone, Abernathy, and Hobbs unlawfully discriminated against Plaintiff because of his religion, in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment." ( Id. at 4 (emphasis omitted).)
Claim Three Plaintiff is entitled to compensation from the Commonwealth of Virginia under the Virginia Tort Claims Act.
Defendants have moved for summary judgment. Hayes has not responded. For the reasons set forth below the Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 25) will be GRANTED.
I. STANDARD FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
Summary judgment must be rendered "if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). It is the responsibility of the party seeking summary judgment to inform the court of the basis for the motion, and to identify the parts of the record which demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). "[W]here the nonmoving party will bear the burden of proof at trial on a dispositive issue, a summary judgment motion may properly be made in reliance solely on the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file." Id. at 324 (internal quotation marks omitted). When the motion is properly supported, the nonmoving party must go beyond the pleadings and, by citing affidavits or "depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, ' designate specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.'" Id. (quoting former Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c) and 56(e) (1986)).
In support of their Motion for Summary Judgment, Defendants submit the affidavit of J. Boone. (ECF No. 26-1 ("Boone Aff.").) Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment contains a statement of undisputed facts as required by Local Rule 56(B). Hayes failed to respond to the Motion for Summary Judgment. In accordance with Local Rule 56(B), because Hayes failed to oppose the Motion for Summary Judgment, the Court presumes that Hayes admits the facts listed in the statement of undisputed facts (Mem. Supp. Mot. Summ. J. 2-3). E.D. Va. Loc. Civ. R. 56(B).
II. UNDISPUTED FACTS
During all times pertinent to this action, Hayes was housed at GCC. (Am. Compl. ¶ 1.) "In August 2011, the Central Virginia area was heavily affected by Hurricane Irene." (Boone Aff. ¶ 5.) Due to the hurricane, the Virginia Department of Corrections (VDOC) had to evacuate Indian Creek Correctional Center ("ICCC") and move the inmates to GCC. ( Id. ) As a result of the evacuation, the VDOC housed over nine hundred offenders from ICCC at GCC. ( Id. ) "Several of these offenders were also participating in the Ramadan fasting and Common Fare menu." ( Id. )
GCC officials could not provide the Common Fare diet to all demanding offenders during this emergency situation:
The Common Fare menu requires a large amount of fresh produce to be delivered weekly. As a result of the influx of offenders, all Common Fare meals were temporarily suspended as [GCC] did not have enough food supplies to supply the Common Fare menu during the hurricane evacuation to all participating offenders. Additionally, the Common Fare menu had to use separate utensils, trays etc. and [GCC] did not have enough separate trays to prepare the religious diet. The ...