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Brown v. Lindsay

October 1, 2009

ABDULLAH BROWN, ET AL. PLAINTIFFS,
v.
CAMERON LINDSAY, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: James F. McClure, Jr. United States District Judge

(Judge McClure)

MEMORANDUM

I. Introduction

On July 17, 2007, plaintiff Abdullah Brown, then an inmate at the United States Penitentiary in Canaan Township, Pennsylvania ("USP Canaan"), proceeding pro se on behalf of himself and others, instituted this Bivens action by filing a complaint. (Rec. Doc. No. 1). Defendants are USP Canaan Warden Cameron Lindsay, Associate Warden Frank Karam, and Chaplain John Johnson ("USP Canaan Defendants"). Brown also has included National Inmate Appeal Administrator for the Federal Bureau of Prisons ("BOP") Harrell Watts and Director of the BOP Harley Lappin as defendants in his complaint, though in their brief to this Court defendants do not list Watts or Lappin as defendants. Brown alleges that the BOP, in a discriminatory manner, removed particular religious books from the chapel library at USP Canaan.

II. Procedural History

On October 12, 2007, Brown filed a Motion for Temporary Restraining Order. (Rec. Doc. No. 102). Brown then filed, on October 22, 2007, a motion seeking to amend his original complaint so as to include defendants from FCI Big Spring. (Rec. Doc. Nos. 103-104). On October 29, 2007, defendants filed a motion seeking an extension of time to respond to Brown's complaint and a brief in opposition to Brown's motion for a temporary restraining order. (Rec. Doc. No. 107). On November 20, 2007, defendants filed a motion for extension of time in which to file a reply brief, which was granted by this Court on November 21, 2007. (Rec. Doc. Nos. 109 and 110). On November 30, 2007, Brown filed a Motion for Summary Judgment and a Motion for Temporary Restraining Order (Rec. Docs. Nos. 111 and 112). On December 14, 2007, defendants filed briefs in opposition to both Brown's motion for summary judgment and his motion for a temporary restraining order. (Rec. Doc. Nos. 117 and 118).

Defendants, on January 11, 2008, filed a Motion for Extension of Time to Respond to Complaint, which this Court granted on February 26, 2008, while also denying as moot Brown's motion for preliminary injunctive relief. (Rec. Doc. Nos. 123, 126, 125). On January 22, 2008, Brown filed another motion for summary judgment. (Rec. Doc. No. 124).

On March 14, 2008, defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss and for Summary Judgment. (Rec. Doc. No. 130). On March 24, 2008, before the defendants filed a brief in support of their motions, Brown filed a brief in opposition to the Motion to Dismiss and for Summary Judgment. (Rec. Doc. No. 131). Defendants then filed their brief in support of their Motion to Dismiss and for Summary Judgment on March 28, 2008. (Rec. Doc. No. 133). On April 2, 2008, defendants filed a Motion for Leave to File Statement of Facts Nunc Pro Tunc and a brief in support thereof. (Rec. Doc. Nos. 134 and 135). This Court, on April 10, 2008, granted defendants' motion requesting leave to file their statement of material facts nunc pro tunc. (Rec. Doc. No. 136). On May 5, 2008, this Court denied as moot defendants' October 29, 2007 motion for an extension of time to respond to Brown's complaint. (Rec. Doc. No. 138).

This Court also denied Brown's October 12, 2007 motion for temporary restraining order, and his November 30, 2007 and January 22, 2008 motions for summary judgment, on July 10, 2008 (Rec. Doc. Nos. 142 and 143); denied Brown's motion for temporary restraining order dated November 30, 2007 on August 1, 2008 (Rec. Doc. No. 144); and denied Brown's motion to amend his complaint dated October 22, 2007 on August 14, 2008. (Rec. Doc. No. 145).

On March 16, 2009, Brown filed a motion for an extension of time for (1) filing a supplement to his brief in opposition to defendants' motion to dismiss or for summary judgment and (2) filing a statement of material facts responding to defendants' statement dated April 2, 2008, in accordance with Local Rule 56.1. (Rec. Doc. No. 151). This Court granted Brown's request on March 20, 2009, allowing him twenty-five days from the date of its order to file a supplement to his brief in opposition to defendants' motion to dismiss or for summary judgment, as well as requiring him to file a statement of material facts within 25 days in response to defendants' statement in accordance with Local Rule 56.1. (Rec. Doc. No. 152). Brown filed a statement of material facts on April 16, 2009. (Rec. Doc. No. 153).

At issue in the instant memorandum and order is defendants' Motion to Dismiss and for Summary Judgment. (Rec. Doc. No. 130). This Motion to Dismiss and for Summary Judgment is now ripe for disposition, and for the following reasons we will grant the Motion to Dismiss.

III. Allegations in the Complaint

Taking as true all of the allegations in Brown's complaint, the facts are as follows. In September 2006, it became known that religious texts published by Dar-Us-Salam had been removed from the prison chapel library's shelves.

Defendants Karam and Johnson told Brown that they had received a BOP Central Office Memo directing them to remove the material from the library shelves. Brown was not allowed to view the memo. In addition, Brown filed a request for an informal resolution, an appeal with Warden Lindsay, and an appeal with the Northeast Regional of the BOP in January 2007, all to no avail. Brown then appealed his grievance to the Office of the General Counsel, which noted "that certain books were ordered removed for security reasons . . . ." (Rev. Doc. No. 1 at 9).

Brown claims that "there is no indication that any of the books removed were even reviewed . . . to make an honest and informed determination that a particular book fit said category . . . ." Id. He claims that the reputation of Dar-UsSalam, and not the content of the books, was the impetus for the removal of the religious material at issue. In addition, although Brown admits that the books of other religions were also removed by the BOP, he states that this ...


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