Zajrael sued the EARU warden, assistant warden and a guard for violating his rights to exercise his religion. In the suit, Zajrael neglected to name the above three defendants in their personal capacity, which is where his cause started to unravel.
Absent naming defendants in their personal capacity, the presumption is that the suit is against the state, and section 1983 provides no cause of action against agents of the state acting in their official capacity. Likewise, sovereign immunity bars Zajrael’s claim for damages under RLUIPA.
The court declared Zajrael’s claim for injunctive relief under RLUIPA to be moot, as he had been transferred from the facility where the controversy existed, rendering him no longer subject to the policies he challenged, there being not live case or controversy.
District court granted summary judgment for the defendants and the Eighth Circuit court of Appeals affirmed. See: Zajrael v. Harmon, 677 F.3d 353 (8th Cir. 2012).
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Related legal case
Zajrael v. Harmon
|Cite||677 F.3d 353 (8th Cir. 2012)|
|Level||Court of Appeals|