Updated:
January 22, 2007

Challenge to a set of judicially-created rules that seriously impair a prisoner's ability to bring grievances to federal court. DECIDED

Under federal law, a prisoner must first present his or her grievance to federal officials before suing in federal court. The Sixth Circuit has interpreted that rule to mean that a prisoner's entire lawsuit must be dismissed if even one claim was not properly exhausted. The ACLU brief argues that nothing in the statute requires that result, and that the "total exhaustion" rule is contrary to the normal practice of dismissing only the unexhausted claim.

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