LANSING, Mich. (AP) – A federal appeals court has denied four Muslim inmates who challenged a jury’s decision to award them $900 in damages after Michigan prison officials did not provide them with adequate meals during Ramadan.
The three-judge panel on Monday upheld a lower judge’s refusal to hold a new trial on the damages.
The jury had determined that Michigan Department of Corrections officials violated the inmates’ constitutional rights by no longer giving Muslims prisoners bigger meals during breakfast and dinner to accommodate their fasting. Jurors awarded $150 for each Ramadan that was disrupted in 2011 and 2012 – or $900 total to the inmates.
The prisoners appealed, arguing jurors ignored their spiritual harms. The appellate judges said spiritual injuries are hard to quantify, and they saw no reason to second-guess jurors’ determination.