Mack v. Warden, Loretto Fed. Corr. Inst., No. 14-2738 (3d Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
Mack, a Muslim inmate at the federal correctional institution in Loretto, Pennsylvania, claims that he was terminated from his paid work assignment for complaining to a prison official about two correctional officers’ anti-Muslim harassment at work. He also claims that the same officers’ harassment had caused him to refrain from praying while at work. Mack brought suit, pro se, against prison employees seeking monetary relief for alleged violations of his rights under the First Amendment, Fifth Amendment, and the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act (RFRA). The district court dismissed all of Mack’s claims. The Third Circuit vacated as to the First Amendment retaliation and RFRA claims. The court held that an inmate’s oral grievance to prison officials can constitute protected activity under the Constitution; that RFRA prohibits individual conduct that substantially burdens religious exercise; and that RFRA provides for monetary relief from an official sued in his individual capacity. The court upheld dismissal of the First Amendment Free Exercise and Fifth Amendment equal protection claims.