United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Owensboro Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
H. McKinley, Jr., Chief Judge
Robert Damion Barnes, pro se, filed this in
forma pauperis civil-rights action. This case is before
the Court for screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A
and McGore v. Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d 601 (6th Cir.
1997), overruled on other grounds by Jones v. Bock,
549 U.S. 199 (2007). For the following reasons, this case
will be dismissed in part and allowed to continue in part.
STATEMENT OF CLAIMS
an inmate at the Daviess County Detention Center (DCDC),
names as Defendants DCDC and DCDC employees Jailer Art Mag
linger and Deputy Jailer Andrew Martin, in their official
capacities. He alleges that on May 31, 2018, he asked to call
his attorney. According to the complaint, he was only allowed
to use the phone to call his attorney between 1:30 and 3:30,
Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays while he was in isolation.
He states that, despite his request, Defendant Martin did not
let him use the phone. Plaintiff states that he then asked
for a supervisor and that the supervisor sent back a message
that he was not able to see him. Plaintiff alleges that
because he was not able to contact his attorney, his
constitutional right to an attorney was violated.
next alleges that DCDC does not have “anything for
Muslims.” Specifically, he states that during Ramadan
he has not been able to make a “Salaat (prayer) nor
have I been able to gain a clean uniform and the dress for
Salah must be clean.” He further alleges that
“during Ramadan we are to make Fajr (the morning
prayer) together as one of the five obligatory prayers. On
Jumuah (or Friday) prayer is obligatory upon Muslim men and
is to be offered in a congregation at Zuhr time . . . and we
don't get that nor anything. This breaks my
constitutional right to practice my religious
Plaintiff alleges that on June 4, 2018, during the Ramadan
meal, he alerted the jail staff that he is allergic to beans
and eggs, prompting them to take away his meal. He states
that he did not receive his meal back until after midnight,
meaning that he fasted from 4:10 a.m. until 12:09 a.m. the
next day. He alleges that missing this meal was a violation
of his religious rights.
prisoner initiates a civil action seeking redress from a
governmental entity, officer, or employee, the trial court
must review the complaint and dismiss the action, if the
Court determines that it is frivolous or malicious, fails to
state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks
monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such
relief. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1) and (2). A
claim is legally frivolous when it lacks an arguable basis
either in law or in fact. Neitzke v. Williams, 490
U.S. 319, 325 (1989). The Court may, therefore, dismiss a
claim as frivolous where it is based on an indisputably
meritless legal theory or where the factual contentions are
clearly baseless. Id. at 327. When determining
whether Plaintiff has stated a claim upon which relief can be
granted, the Court must construe the complaint in a light
most favorable to Plaintiff and accept all factual
allegations as true. Prater v. City of Burnside,
Ky., 289 F.3d 417, 424 (6th Cir. 2002). While a
reviewing court must liberally construe pro se pleadings,
Boag v. MacDougall, 454 U.S. 364, 365 (1982) (per
curiam), to avoid dismissal, a complaint must include
“enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007).
Claim regarding call to attorney
Plaintiff alleges that he was not able to call his attorney
on May 31, 2018. He alleges that this inability was a
violation of his constitutional right to an attorney.
an inmate has no right to unlimited telephone use. See
Washington v. Reno, 35 F.3d 1093, 1100 (6th Cir. 1994);
Brown v. Long, No. 96-5567, 1997 WL 63136, at *1
(6th Cir. Feb. 12, 1997) (holding that a “plaintiff
[prisoner] has no constitutional right to unlimited access to
a telephone, particularly during his confinement in
segregation”). And, Plaintiff does not allege that he
did not have other means of communicating with his attorney.
White v. Blue, No. 4:15-CV-P100-JHM, 2015 WL
9244491, at *2 (W.D. Ky. Dec. 17, 2015) (finding that, where
plaintiff did not allege that he did not have other means of
communicating with his attorney, plaintiff had not alleged
any constitutional violation with regard to access to the
phone or his attorney); see also Dewald v.
McCallister, No. 4:13CV-P6-M, 2013 WL 3280273, at *4
(W.D. Ky. June 27, 2013) (same). Consequently, the Court
finds that Plaintiff fails to state a claim regarding the
one-time inability to call his attorney.
Claim regarding missing a meal during Ramadan
alleges that on June 4, 2018, after he alerted the jail staff
that he is allergic to beans and eggs, his meal was taken
away. He alleges that he did not receive his meal back until
after midnight, causing him to fast from 4:10 a.m. until
12:09 a.m. the next day in violation of his religious rights.
First Amendment prevents the government from prohibiting or
excessively curtailing the free exercise of religion. See
Cruz v. Beto, 405 U.S. 319, 322 (1972) (per curiam).
Inmates do retain their rights under the First Amendment.
O'Lone v. Estate of Shabazz, 482 U.S. 342, 348
(1987). However, Plaintiff's complaint of a one-time
delay in serving breakfast during the period of Ramadan does
not rise to a constitutional violation, even if that delay
meant that he could not eat until after sundown. See
Mabon v. Campbell, Nos. 98-5468, 98-5513, 2000 WL
145177, at *3 (6th Cir. Feb. 1, 2000) (per curiam). Plaintiff
does not allege that he was not able to practice his religion
properly as he states that he did fast as required by his
religious belief. “[A] short-term and sporadic
disruption of [a prisoner's] Ramadan eating habits does
not . . . allege a substantial burden on his religious
freedom.” Maynard v. Hale, No. 3:11-CV-1233,
2012 WL 3401095, at *4 (M.D. Tenn. Aug. 14, 2012).