Porter v. Nussle, 534 U.S. 516, 4 (2002)

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Cite as: 534 U. S. 516 (2002)

Opinion of the Court

John R. Williams argued the cause for respondent. With him on the briefs was Norman A. Pattis.

Irving R. Gornstein argued the cause for the United States as amicus curiae urging reversal. With him on the brief were Solicitor General Olson, Acting Assistant Attorney General Schiffer, Deputy Solicitor General Clement, Barbara L. Herwig, and Peter R. Maier.*

Justice Ginsburg delivered the opinion of the Court.

This case concerns the obligation of prisoners who claim denial of their federal rights while incarcerated to exhaust prison grievance procedures before seeking judicial relief. Plaintiff-respondent Ronald Nussle, an inmate in a Connecticut prison, brought directly to court, without filing an inmate grievance, a complaint charging that corrections officers singled him out for a severe beating, in violation of the Eighth Amendment's ban on "cruel and unusual punishments." Nussle bypassed the grievance procedure despite a provision of the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (PLRA), 110 Stat. 1321-73, as amended, 42 U. S. C. 1997e(a)

*Briefs of amici curiae urging reversal were filed for the State of New York et al. by Eliot Spitzer, Attorney General of New York, Preeta D. Bansal, Solicitor General, and Caitlin J. Halligan, First Deputy Solicitor General, and by the Attorneys General for their respective States as follows: Bruce M. Botelho of Alaska, Janet Napolitano of Arizona, Bill Lockyer of California, M. Jane Brady of Delaware, Thurbert E. Baker of Georgia, Earl I. Anzai of Hawaii, James E. Ryan of Illinois, Steve Carter of Indiana, Thomas J. Miller of Iowa, Carla J. Stovall of Kansas, Richard P. Ieyoub of Louisiana, J. Joseph Curran, Jr., of Maryland, Thomas F. Reilly of Massachusetts, Jennifer M. Granholm of Michigan, Jeremiah W. Nixon of Missouri, Don Stenberg of Nebraska, Frankie Sue Del Papa of Nevada, John J. Farmer, Jr., of New Jersey, Betty D. Montgomery of Ohio, W. A. Drew Edmondson of Oklahoma, Hardy Myers of Oregon, D. Michael Fisher of Pennsylvania, Charles M. Condon of South Carolina, John Cornyn of Texas, Mark L. Shurtleff of Utah, William H. Sorrell of Vermont, and Christine O. Gregoire of Washington; and for the National Conference of State Legislatures et al. by Richard Ruda and James I. Crowley.

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