Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Ralston v. Cannon

United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit

March 13, 2018

CRAIG C. RALSTON, Plaintiff - Appellee,
v.
CHAPLAIN HOSEA CANNON, Defendant-Appellant.

         APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLORADO (D.C. NO. 1:14-CV-00247-CBS)

          David C. Cooperstein, Assistant City Attorney, Denver City Attorney's Office, Denver, Colorado, for Appellant.

          Katayoun A. Donnelly, Azizpour Donnelly LLC, Denver, Colorado, Court-appointed pro bono counsel for Appellee.

          Before MORITZ, KELLY, and MURPHY, Circuit Judges.

          MURPHY, Circuit Judge.

          I. INTRODUCTION

         Craig Ralston, a Denver Detention Center ("DDC") prisoner, brought this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 civil rights suit against Hosea Cannon.[1] Ralston alleged Cannon, the official charged with "coordinating, directing[, ] and monitoring the religious activities" of DDC inmates, violated his First Amendment right to free exercise by denying his request for a kosher diet. Cannon moved for summary judgment on the basis of qualified immunity, asserting his conduct was, at most, negligent and, thus, did not rise to the level of a First Amendment violation. The district court denied Cannon's request for qualified immunity. The district court concluded it was clearly established that a kosher-meal accommodation is necessary if Ralston has an honest belief the accommodation is important to his free exercise of religion. Importantly, the district court further concluded the record, read in the light most favorable to Ralston, was sufficient to allow a reasonable juror to find Cannon consciously or intentionally interfered with Ralston's right to free exercise by denying the kosher-diet request.

         Cannon appeals the district court's order denying his request for qualified immunity. Each aspect of Cannon's appeal, however, amounts to a challenge to the district court's determinations of evidentiary sufficiency. Accordingly, this court lacks jurisdiction over this interlocutory appeal. Johnson v. Jones, 515 U.S. 304, 319-20 (1995) (holding that appellate courts lack interlocutory jurisdiction in qualified-immunity based appeals from the denial of summary judgment to review "whether or not the pretrial record sets forth a 'genuine' issue of fact for trial"); Lewis v. Tripp, 604 F.3d 1221, 1225 (10th Cir. 2010) ("[T]he Supreme Court [has] indicated that, at the summary judgment stage at least, it is generally the district court's exclusive job to determine which facts a jury could reasonably find from the evidence presented to it by the litigants."). Accordingly, we dismiss Cannon's appeal for lack of appellate jurisdiction.

         II. BACKGROUND

          A. Factual Background

         The district court noted that the following generalized factual background was undisputed:

Craig Ralston, a member of the Messianic Jewish faith, was arrested and booked into Denver Detention Center ("DDC") on December 20, 2013. At all relevant times to this claim, Hosea Cannon served as the Program Director and Chaplain for Denver Sheriff's Department. Chaplain Cannon's job responsibilities involve "coordinating, directing and monitoring the religious activities and services of inmates of all faiths represented by the inmate population, " which include special diet requests. During the booking process, Mr. Ralston completed the "Intake Pre-Classification Questionnaire" and apparently circled "NO" to the question "Does your religious affiliation require a special diet?" Soon after booking, Mr. Ralston filed a step one grievance requesting a kosher diet in accordance with his religious beliefs as a Messianic Jew. On January 2, 2014, Chaplain Cannon denied the request based on Mr. Ralston's response to the question concerning dietary restrictions and "Chaplain Cannon's prior correspondence with a Messianic Jewish consultant who [advised] that the DDC's standard, non-pork, non-shellfish diet met the dietary requirements of Messianic Jewish inmates." On January 28, 2014, Mr. Ralston submitted a "Religious Special Diet Application, " which included information pertaining to his current religious affiliation as well as "some background as to his religious history and upbringing." That same day, Mr. Ralston filed this action in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado. On February 4, 2014, Chaplain Cannon approved Mr. Ralston's application for a kosher diet.

Dist. Ct. Order at 2 (record citations omitted).

         B. ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.