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Dismissal of Prisoner 1983 for “Failure to Exhaust Administrative Remedies” Denied

Trevor Griffith, a prisoner in the New York Department of Correctional Services (DOCS), had filed a 42 U.S.C.A. Section 1983 Civil Rights case against the DOCS

alleging mistreatment while he was in the Special Housing Unit (SHU) at Wende Correctional Facility (Wende).

He had initially filed a grievance at Wende concerning that treatment in May of 2002, but that grievance was rejected by the grievance supervisor as untimely, and he then filed a grievance against the grievance supervisor.  That grievance was also denied.

The DOCS filed a motion to dismiss based upon “Failure to Exhaust Administrative Remedies,” but it was denied by the court, who found that “plaintiff has sufficiently exhausted his administrative remedies,”  O’Connor v. Featherston, No. 01 Div. 3251 (HB), 2002 WL 818085, at *2(S.D.N.Y. Apr. 29, 2002), since he made a reasonable attempt to exhaust his administrative remedies, “where it is alleged that corrections officers failed to file the (prisoner’s) grievances or otherwise impeded or prevented his efforts…”

This result also followed Section 7, 42 U.S.C. Section 1997e, which also found that although corrections officials are entitled to strict compliance with administrative procedures, there are circumstances in which (a prisoner’s) failure to exhaust his administrative remedies may be excused. See: Griffith v. Selsky, No. 02-CV-6096L, United States District Court for the Western District of N.Y., (2004).


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Related legal case

Griffith v. Selsky