Firm Files Amicus Brief Regarding Prison Litigation Reform Act

September 10, 2021

On September 3, the Firm filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, on behalf of the ACLU, the ACLU of Northern California, the Brennan Center, the Florida Justice Institute, the Human Rights Defense Center, the Prison Law Office, the Southern Center for Human Rights, and the Southern Poverty Law Center. The brief was filed in Saddozai v. Davis, a suit in which the plaintiff-appellant argues that the administrative exhaustion mandated by the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) must be assessed at the time of an amended or supplemental pleading—rather than at the time of the original complaint. As set out in the brief, this issue has important financial implications for prisoners because the PLRA requires that prisoners who commence federal civil actions must pay court filing fees in full, even if they qualify for in forma pauperis status. If exhaustion of remedies is assessed as of the filing of an original complaint, as the district court held, rather than as of the time of an amended or supplemental complaint, then prisoners who exhaust their administrative remedies after commencing an action would be forced to commence a separate, duplicative proceeding, and thus incur the cost of a second filing fee, in order to seek redress for violations of their constitutional rights. The amicus brief highlights the financial hurdles borne by people in jail and prison, and the harsh consequences that would result from the imposition of a second filing fee.

To read the brief, please click here.