Shikeb Saddozai v. Ron Davis Court: US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Docket: 20-17519, Opinion Date: May 23, 2022. Plaintiff alleged excessive force after being shot by a correctional officer during an incident that occurred while Plaintiff was incarcerated at California’s San Quentin State Prison. Defendants moved to dismiss Plaintiff’s third amended complaint against Defendant Clawson for failure to state a claim and because Plaintiff had not exhausted administrative remedies under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”) before he filed his original complaint. The district court agreed that Plaintiff failed to exhaust his claim against Defendant at the time he filed his original complaint and dismissed the third amended complaint for lack of exhaustion under the PLRA. The Ninth Circuit held that the district court erred and reversed the district court’s dismissal. The court clarified the underlying principle in Jackson v. Fong, 870 F.3d 928 (9th Cir. 2017). Jackson made clear that the PLRA does not supplant or modify Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15. Rule 15 allows plaintiffs, regardless of their incarceration status, to supplement pleadings with leave of court “even though the original pleading is defective in stating a claim or defense.” A prisoner who has fully complied with the PLRA’s exhaustion requirement need not file an entirely new federal case simply because he had not exhausted when he filed his original federal complaint. The parties agreed that Plaintiff had fully exhausted by the time he filed his third amended complaint, which the district court deemed the “operative complaint.” Plaintiff’s operative third amended complaint was the only relevant pleading for purposes of the PLRA exhaustion analysis.
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