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No Exhaustion Required in Juvenile IDEA Suit for Damages

The court had previously held that plaintiff, confined by the California Youth Authority, had to exhaust concerning his placement in detention because it was grievable, but did not have to exhaust under the California Tort Claims Act It asked for briefing on whether plaintiff was advised of the grievance procedures and whether it was possible for him to file a grievance? Defendants submitted a piece of paper on which plaintiff had checked off a box indicating that he had been informed of the grievance procedure and an affidavit that an Assistant Superintendent had visited him in detention and he didn't say he wished to file a grievance Plaintiff doesn't dispute these facts and said there was no evidence he was provided with an institutional form or even pad and pencil He fails to raise a triable issue

The California Tort Claims Act procedures need not be exhausted Exhaustion is not jurisdictional (seems to be dictum).

Monetary damages are not available under IDEA administrative remedies The majority rule (under IDEA, not PLRA, apparently) is that one should have to exhaust anyway or one could evade the exhaustion requirement by seeking damages The court adopts the minority rule that relief not available under the statutory scheme does not require exhaustion Damages are not available under IDEA, but only under a 1983 action based on IDEA

The court denies summary judgment to the defendants because it is not clear whether administrative remedies are presently available to the plaintiff (ie, whether the wrongs he claims can still be remedied, presumably meaning that they may still be ongoing)

Exhaustion is not required under PLRA when damages are sought and not available under the grievance system; contrary decisions give too little attention to the statutory term "available." The court equates futility with non-availability (1152). But exhaustion is waived only when the administrative procedure can't alleviate the underlying wrong "Therefore the Court finds that exhaustion is required if, at the time the action is filed, the wrong can be alleviated by an administrative procedure" Eg, if plaintiff were still in solitary he'd have to exhaust

Weight loss resulting from emotional distress is not a "prior" physical injury under PLRA (1152) See: Plasencia v. State of California, 29 F.Supp.2d 1145 (C.D.Cal. 1998).

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Related legal case

Plasencia v. State of California