Porter v. Nussle

Facts of the Case

Without filing a grievance under applicable Connecticut Department of Correction procedures, plaintiff-respondent Nussle, a state prison inmate, commenced a federal court action under


Does the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995 require that all prisoners seeking redress for prison circumstances or occurrences exhaust any applicable administrative remedies before filing suit?


Yes. In a unanimous opinion delivered by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Court held that the PLRA’s exhaustion requirement applies to all inmate suits about prison life, whether they involve general circumstances or particular episodes, and whether they allege excessive force or some other wrong. The Court rejected Nussle’s argument that Congress added the words prison conditions to exempt excessive force claims. Justice Ginsburg wrote that the Court’s precedents and the act’s dominant concern to promote administrative redress, filter out groundless claims, and foster better prepared litigation of claims aired in court persuade the Court strongly away from classifying suits about prison guards’ use of excessive force, one or many times, as anything other than actions ‘with respect to prison conditions.’

Case Information

  • Citation: 534 US 516 (2002)
  • Argued: Jan 14, 2002
  • Decided Feb 26, 2002