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Dismissal for Failure to Exhaust Reversed

On October 21, 2009, the Court of Appeals of Tennessee vacated a trial court’s dismissal of a prisoner’s suit for failure to exhaust administrative remedies.

Gregory Potter sought 42 U.S.C. §1983 relief for an access to courts violation. Potter did not name the defendants he was suing in his grievance filings, though the trial court dismissed Potter’s suit because of this.

Potter appealed and the Court of Appeals reversed. The Appellate Court held that the trial court had erred in requiring Potter to name the defendants in his grievances for exhaustion to be complete. The court noted that the Supreme Court had since ruled that “proper exhaustion” is determined by looking to the requirements of the grievance procedures themselves and not judicially created rules for exhaustion.

The trial court’s order was accordingly reversed.

See: Potter v. Espinose, No. M2008-02542-COA-R3-CV (Ca. Tenn. 2009).

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Related legal case

Potter v. Espinose