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Decisons in Civil Rights Suits, Plus a Criminal Case

By FindLaw Staff | Last updated on

Colvin v. Caruso, No.08-2441, concerned a challenge to the district court's grant of summary judgment against a plaintiff-inmate, in his section 1983 suit against multiple prison officials, claiming that a 16-day denial of kosher food, multiple mistakes in administering a kosher meal program, and lack of Jewish services and literature violated his constitutional rights and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA). 

The court affirmed in part and vacated in part, the judgment of the district court as follows.  The court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment on plaintiff's RLUIPA claim as set forth in his complaint, as well as the grant of summary judgment on plaintiff's section 1983.  The court also held that it was not an abuse of discretion for the district court to deny plaintiff's discovery request.  However, the court vacated the district court's denial of plaintiff's motion to amend as it was an abuse of discretion to fail to address wrongful-removal and failure-to-reinstate claims that plaintiff brought in his proposed amended complaint.  And consequently, the district court's failure to rule on the second motion for a preliminary injunction was an abuse of discretion.     

Griffin v. Hardrick, No. 09-5757, concerned a plaintiff's section 1983 suit against a correction officer, raising an excessive force claim and a state-law claim for battery, arising from injuries she sustained while struggling with officers at a detention center following her arrest for disorderly conduct.  In affirming the entry of summary judgment in favor of defendants, the court held that, although this is a close case, no reasonable jury could find that defendant "evinced such wantonness as is tantamount to a knowing willingness" that plaintiff's injury occur.  Furthermore, there is no error in the district court's conclusion that because defendant was entitled to summary judgment on plaintiff's section 1983 claim, he was also entitled to summary judgment on her state-law battery claim.     

In US v. Thomas, No. 08-5239, the court faced a chllenge to a district court's denial of defendant's motion to suppress evidence that law enforcement agents seized from his trailer home during execution of a search warrant in a prosecution for manufacturing 100 or more marijuana plants and possession with intent to distribute.  The court affirmed the denial of motion to suppress as there was probable cause to support the issuance of a search warrant.  Furthermore, defendant's appeal of his sentence is dismissed to the extent that he knowingly and voluntarily waived his right to appeal it through his plea agreement.     

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