Morrison & Foerster lawyers Joel Haims, John Trocki, and Justin Mayer are currently working on a religious freedom pro bono case in Virginia.
In November 2015, Morrison & Foerster appeared in a case that had been commenced pro se in federal court in the Western District of Virginia by an inmate of River North Correctional Center (River North) alleging violations of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA). The plaintiff is a Jewish inmate seeking to obtain kosher food and other religious accommodations, in keeping with his religious practice.
On June 9, the firm filed a second amended complaint alleging that the Virginia Department of Corrections and River North, along with various senior officials in those organizations, violated RLUIPA by failing to provide the plaintiff with kosher food and prohibiting him from engaging in certain other religious observances, such as group prayer.
The important role that lawyers play in these types of cases was highlighted in the article, “The Critical Role Counsel Can Play in Prisoners' Religious Freedom Cases," that was published on Bloomberg BNA’s U.S. Law Week Blog on June 15, 2016.