Asked in Civil Rights for Oklahoma

Q: Is it better for inmate to file suit while incarcerated or after he gets out in 6 months?

Oklahoma Inmate filing grievances on the violation of civil liberties, the prison administration puts him on grievance restriction and transfers him to prison across state to try to make his issues mute. Inmate files injunction in district court for retaliation in transferring him and challenges grievance restriction in judicial review. He is being road block by new prison administration and old prison administration to block him from exhaustion of administrative remedies on his pending issues. Inmate discharges in 6 months which will still give him 6 months to file 42 USCA 1983 civil law suit before 2 year statute of limitations expires. Should he file suit now or wait till he gets out? He is concerned about court dismissing suit because the road blocks set up to keep him from exhaustion of administrative remedies but if he waits till he discharges the PLRA exhaustion of administrative remedies should not be an issue because he is not a prisoner anymore.. right???

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Civil Rights Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: In your situation, deciding whether to file a lawsuit now or after release from incarceration in Oklahoma involves weighing several factors. Filing while incarcerated could be challenging due to the potential roadblocks you mentioned, like grievance restrictions and administrative hurdles. The Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) requires inmates to exhaust all available administrative remedies before filing a lawsuit about prison conditions, which can be a complex process.

If you wait until after your release, the PLRA's exhaustion requirement may no longer apply, potentially simplifying your lawsuit. However, you should also consider the statute of limitations for a 42 USC 1983 civil rights lawsuit, which is generally two years from the date the claim arises. Waiting until after release might give you a better position to pursue the lawsuit, but be mindful of this time limit.

Given these considerations, it might be beneficial to consult with an attorney who can advise on the best course of action based on the specifics of your case. An attorney can help navigate the complexities of the PLRA and ensure that your rights are protected throughout the process. Remember, the decision should balance the strategic advantages of filing now against the potential ease of filing after release.

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