Case: Ali v. Thaler

9:09-cv-00052 | U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas

Filed Date: March 29, 2009

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On March 29, 2009, a Muslim prisoner at the Gib Lewis Unit in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. The plaintiff, bringing the case pro se, sued the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ). He sought a declaratory judgment that TDCJ's enforcement of grooming standards violated his First and Fourteenth amendment rights and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA). He also sought a pr…

On March 29, 2009, a Muslim prisoner at the Gib Lewis Unit in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. The plaintiff, bringing the case pro se, sued the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ). He sought a declaratory judgment that TDCJ's enforcement of grooming standards violated his First and Fourteenth amendment rights and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA). He also sought a preliminary and permanent injunction to enjoin TDCJ from enforcing these standards. Specifically, he asked the court to require TDCJ to permit him to grow his beard a full fist length and wear Islamic head gear (Kufi), in line with his religious beliefs.

On June 4, 2009, District Judge Thad Heartfield put the case on hold pending a decision in Garner v. Morales, 2009 WL 577755 (5th Cir. 2009), which addressed the same issue in a different prison, and had recently been remanded by the Fifth Circuit back to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. Judge Heartfield denied all pending motions, including the plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction. 2009 WL 1586691.

On June 12, 2009, the plaintiff appealed Judge Heartfield's opinion to the Fifth Circuit. On appeal, the plaintiff also filed a motion asking the Fifth Circuit to compel the District Court to issue the preliminary injunction. The Fifth Circuit denied the motion to compel on December 29, 2009, but ultimately vacated the lower court's opinion. On May 28, 2010, the appeals court held that the lower court had erred in pausing the case without findings of fact or conclusions of law. It remanded the motion for preliminary injunction to the District Court. (J. E. Grady Jolly)607 F.3d 1046.

Meanwhile, in District Court, the plaintiff moved for a preliminary injunction on July 7th, 2009. Judge Heartfiled denied the motion.

In response to the Fifth Circuit's May 28th ruling, the District Court reopened the case. The plaintiff moved for appointment of counsel, but Magistrate Judge Judith Guthrie denied the motion on July 7, 2010.

Following an evidentiary hearing in District Court, Judge Heartfield dismissed the case with prejudice for failure to state a claim. Judge Heartfield noted that the Fifth Circuit had recently found in Gooden v. Crain, 353 Fed.Appx. 885 (5th Cir. 2009), that a District Court could credit prison officials' testimony that changing grooming codes could present a significant security concern. Judge Heartfield further held that the claim was moot because a temporary medical exemption had permitted the plaintiff to grow a beard. 2010 WL 3790823.

The plaintiff appealed the judgment on October 8, 2010. The Fifth Circuit issued a per curiam decision on July 18, 2011 partially vacating and remanding the lower court's ruling. (J. Fortunato Benavides, J. Carl E. Stewart, J. Edith Brown Clement). The court affirmed the District Court's dismissal of the plaintiff's RLUIPA claim challenging the head-covering policy, and its dismissal of the equal protection and first amendment claims. The Fifth Circuit vacated and remanded the District Court's dismissal of the plaintiff's RLUIPA claim challenging the grooming policy. It held that the issue was not moot because the medical exemption had been temporary and had most likely expired in January 2011. 434 Fed.Appx. 322 (5th Cir. Tex.).

Meanwhile, in District Court, the plaintiff sought a temporary restraining order to permit him to grow a beard. Judge Ron Clark denied the motion on April 4, 2011, finding that the plaintiff was asking the Court to grant him relief on an issue on which he had already failed to prevail. That summer, on August 23, 2011, the case was officially reassigned to Judge Ron Clark.

On October 24, 2011, the plaintiff filed another motion for a temporary restraining order, arguing that in a prior order, the Court had recognized that if Garner was successful in his case in the Southern District, the Plaintiff here could prevail as well. The plaintiff pointed to the Southern District's recent opinion granting declaratory relief to Garner, 2011 WL 2038581. Judge Clark denied the motion for a temporary restraining order on January 9, 2012 because the Garner case was stayed while on appeal. The next day, the plaintiff again moved for a preliminary injunction.

On January 31, 2012, the plaintiff appealed Judge Clark's opinion on the temporary restraining order. The Fifth Circuit dismissed the appeal and denied the motion on January 4, 2013. It held that it lacked jurisdiction to entertain an appeal on a temporary restraining order. The Court did remand the case, urging the lower court to reexamine the motion for a preliminary injunction. (per curiam decision, J. Judge Jerry E. Smith, J. Edward C. Prado, J. Stephen A. Higginson) 505 Fed.Appx. 369 (5th Cir. 2013).

Meanwhile, in District Court, the defendant moved for summary judgment and the plaintiff again moved to appoint counsel. On March 29 2012, the U.S. Department of Justice appeared as Amicus Curiae stating that the United States believed TDCJ's "blanket prohibition on religious beards is not narrowly tailored to the generalized budgetary and security interests it asserts" and asking the court to deny TDCJ's motion for summary judgment. Without deciding on either motion, Magistrate Judge Guthrie stayed the proceedings pending the appeal on the temporary restraining order opinion on April 11, 2012.

After the Fifth Circuit remanded the case, on June 3, 2013, the plaintiff brought an objection to the District Court's handling of the case. In particular, he complained that the Magistrate Judge had made so many of the rulings. He asked that the District Judge perform his duty. A month later, on July 2, 2013, he asked the Fifth Circuit to order the District Court to do its job. He alleged that the District Court had failed to decide on injunctive relief, even after the Fifth Circuit had urged it to reexamine the motion for a preliminary injunction. On August 12, 2013, the Fifth Circuit denied the plaintiff's request, but with the caveat that the plaintiff could reinstate it if the District Court had not ruled in 180 days.

On December 19, 2013, two pro bono lawyers were appointed as counsel for the plaintiff, and on January 17, 2014, Judge Clark assigned the case to Magistrate Judge Zack Hawthorn.

On February 4, 2014, Judge Hawthorn granted the plaintiff's motion for a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction enjoining TDCJ from enforcing a policy prohibiting the plaintiff from maintaining a quarter-inch beard. 2014 WL 495162.

A bench trial was held in July 2014 before Magistrate Judge Hawthorn. On September 26, he granted declaratory and injunctive relief requiring TDCJ to allow the plaintiff to wear a fist-length beard and a Kufi. 69 F.Supp.3d 633. The state appealed the decision on October 16, 2014.

The case was stayed for several months pending resolution in Holt v. Hobbs [135 S.Ct. 853], but after the Supreme Court found for the prisoner plaintiff in that case, the Fifth Circuit affirmed the District Court's judgment and permanent injunction on May 2, 2016. 822 F.3d 776.

Meanwhile, on December 3, 2014, Magistrate Judge Hawthorn denied the defendant's motion to stay the judgment pending the appeal in the Fifth Circuit. On April 29, 2015, he order the defendant to pay the plaintiff $16,312.72 in costs and $214,160.44 in attorney's fees and expenses. The defendant appealed the ruling on May 18, 2015, but withdrew the appeal on May 16, 2016. There has been no significant activity since 2016, and the case appears closed.

Summary Authors

Gabriela Hybel (7/6/2017)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4865577/parties/ali-v-quarterman/


Judge(s)

Clark, Ron (Texas)

Hawthorn, Zack (Texas)

Heartfield, Thad (Texas)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Albritton, Eric M. (Texas)

Benefield, Michael Aaron (Indiana)

Latchford, Shawn A. (Texas)

Morse, Thomas Jackson (District of Columbia)

Mygatt, Timothy D (District of Columbia)

Perez, Thomas E. (District of Columbia)

Russell, Randi Davis (Texas)

Judge(s)

Clark, Ron (Texas)

Hawthorn, Zack (Texas)

Heartfield, Thad (Texas)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Albritton, Eric M. (Texas)

Benefield, Michael Aaron (Indiana)

Latchford, Shawn A. (Texas)

Morse, Thomas Jackson (District of Columbia)

Mygatt, Timothy D (District of Columbia)

Perez, Thomas E. (District of Columbia)

Russell, Randi Davis (Texas)

Smith, Jonathan Mark (District of Columbia)

Songer, Michael J. (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Cunniff, Celamine (Texas)

Gardner, M. Carol (Texas)

O'Leary, Leah Jean (Texas)

Pope, Patrick (Texas)

Skrabanek, John Robert (Texas)

Expert/Monitor/Master

Gargalicana, Rowena (California)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

9:09-cv-00052

Docket [PACER]

Ali v. Quarterman

June 2, 2017

June 2, 2017

Docket
1

9:09-cv-00052

Complaint

Ali v. Quarterman

March 27, 2009

March 27, 2009

Complaint
14

9:09-cv-00052

Memorandum Adopting Report and Recommendation of The United States Magistrate Judge

Ali v. Quarterman

2009 WL 1586691

June 4, 2009

June 4, 2009

Order/Opinion
36

9:09-cv-00052

Memorandum Adopting Report and Recommendation of The United States Magistrate Judge on Plaintiff's Post-Judgement Motion for Injunctive Relief

Ali v. Quarterman

2009 WL 3448199

Oct. 21, 2009

Oct. 21, 2009

Order/Opinion
00511124824

09-40612

Appeal From The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas

Ali v. Quarterman

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

607 F.3d 1046

May 28, 2010

May 28, 2010

Order/Opinion
88

9:09-cv-00052

Memorandum Adopting Report and Recommendations of The United States Magistrate Judge and Entering Final Judgement

Ali v. Quarterman

2010 WL 3790823

Sept. 24, 2010

Sept. 24, 2010

Order/Opinion
00511542705

10-41045

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas

Ali v. Quarterman

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

434 Fed.Appx. 322, 2011 WL 2847506

July 18, 2011

July 18, 2011

Order/Opinion
136

9:09-cv-00052

Memorandum Adopting Report and Recommendation of The United States Magistrate Judge on Plaintiff's Motion for Injunctive Relief

Ali v. Quarterman

Jan. 9, 2012

Jan. 9, 2012

Order/Opinion
159

9:09-cv-00052

Statement of Interest of the United States

Ali v. Thalder

March 29, 2012

March 29, 2012

Pleading / Motion / Brief
00512101008

12-40145

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas

Ali v. Quarterman

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

505 Fed.Appx. 369, 2013 WL 49593

Jan. 4, 2013

Jan. 4, 2013

Order/Opinion

Resources

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4865577/ali-v-quarterman/

Last updated June 7, 2022, 3:08 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
14

MEMORANDUM AND OPINION that the report of the Magistrate Judge is adopted as the opinion of the District Court. This case is hereby administratively closed and place on an inactive docket for administrative and statiscal purposes. Such lawsuit may b e reopened at such time as the decision in Garner v. Morales, currently pending in the Southern District of Texas, becomes final through the conclusion of direct appeal. The administrative closingof this case shall not affect the substantive rights of any party thereto. It is further ORDERED that any and all motions which may be pending in this action are hereby DENIED. Signed by Judge Thad Heartfield on 6/4/09. (djh, ) Modified on 6/5/2009 (djh, ).

June 4, 2009

June 4, 2009

RECAP
36

MEMORANDUM ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS of the United States Magistrate Judge as the opinion for for the District Court. Further Ordered that the 21 Motion for Preliminary Injunction is denied and the Court grants the 33 Motion for for leave to file out of time objections. Signed by Judge Thad Heartfield on 10/21/09. (djh, )

Oct. 21, 2009

Oct. 21, 2009

RECAP
88

ORDER ADOPTING 70 REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS. This case is dismissed with prejudice for failure to state a claim which relief may be granted. All motions, specifically including but not limited to the Plaintiff's 39 motion for reconsideration of the denial of his motion for injunctive relief are denied. Signed by Judge Thad Heartfield on 9/24/10. (ljw, )

Sept. 24, 2010

Sept. 24, 2010

RECAP
136

MEMORANDUM ADOPTING 124 REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS. The Plaintiff's 118 motion for an order to show cause and a temporary restraining order is denied. Signed by Judge Ron Clark on 1/8/12. (ljw, )

Jan. 9, 2012

Jan. 9, 2012

RECAP
227

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER. The Plaintiff's requests for a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction are GRANTED to the extent that William B. Stephens, his successors, and all persons acting in concert with him are RESTRAIN ED and ENJOINED from enforcing the TDCJ grooming policy prohibiting David Rasheed Ali from wearing and maintaining a quarter-inch beard as an exercise of his rights under the RLUIPA. In all other respects, the Plaintiff's motions for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction are DENIED. Signed by Magistrate Judge Zack Hawthorn on 2/4/14. (ljw, )

Feb. 4, 2014

Feb. 4, 2014

RECAP
418

MEMORANDUM AND OPINION ORDER. Defendant's motion to stay the judgment as to the enforcement of the TDCJ religious head wear policy pending appeal is DENIED. Signed by Magistrate Judge Zack Hawthorn on 12/3/14. (ljw, )

Dec. 3, 2014

Dec. 3, 2014

RECAP
420

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER. The Plaintiff's motion for taxation of costs and attorney's fees 356 is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part. It is ORDERED that the Defendant shall pay the Plaintiff $16,312.72 in costs and $214,160.44 in attorney's fees and expenses. Signed by Magistrate Judge Zack Hawthorn on 4/29/15. (ljw, )

April 29, 2015

April 29, 2015

RECAP

Case Details

State / Territory: Texas

Case Type(s):

Prison Conditions

Special Collection(s):

DOJ Civil Rights Division Statements of Interest

Key Dates

Filing Date: March 29, 2009

Case Ongoing: No reason to think so

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Muslim inmate at the Gib Lewis Unit in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: Yes

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

Texas Department of Criminal Justice, State

Defendant Type(s):

Corrections

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Religious Freedom Rest. Act/Religious Land Use and Inst. Persons Act (RFRA/RLUIPA)

Constitutional Clause(s):

Equal Protection

Free Exercise Clause

Freedom of speech/association

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Monetary Relief

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order

Declaratory Judgment

Attorneys fees

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Litigation

Amount Defendant Pays: 230,473.16

Order Duration: 2014 - None

Content of Injunction:

Discrimination Prohibition

Preliminary relief denied

Issues

General:

Conditions of confinement

Religious programs / policies

Discrimination-basis:

Religion discrimination

Affected Gender:

Male

Type of Facility:

Government-run