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Summary Judgment for Michigan DOC Denied In Kosher Meal Suit

A Michigan federal district court ruled that the question of whether a prison's policy is a "less restrictive" means of determining a prisoner's religious sincerity before allowing a Kosher diet is a question of fact precluding summary judgment. Michigan state prisoner Gregory DuJardine filed a §1983 suit in 2007 alleging that the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) denied him Kosher meals solely because he had not waited one year since his last request. The MDOC filed for summary judgment. A magistrate's Report and Recommendation (R & R) found that DuJardine had failed to demonstrate a "less restrictive" means of demonstrating sincerity of belief than the one-year periodic review policy or that it was a burden under the Religious Land Use of Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA).

On review, the district court rejected the R & R ruling that (1) a showing of burden under
RLUIPA was not raised by the MDOC and was thus not before the court and (2) that the question of "less restrictive" means is a question of fact precluding summary judgment at this stage of the proceedings. The MDOC had conceded that the Kosher meals were available and were only denied based on a failure to comply with the one year review policy.

See: DuJardine v. MDOC, Case No.1: 07-cv-701 (D. C. W.D. Mich. December 23, 2008).

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Related legal case

DuJardine v. MDOC