Wisniewski v. Fisher, No. 14-4194 (3d Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
Court erred in dismissing civil rights claims as time-barred without considering whether inmate exhausted administrative remedies and whether limitations period should be tolled.
Wisniewski, a Pennsylvania inmate, filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983. He worked as an aide in the prison’s law library. Believing that prison policies were harming inmates’ ability to access the courts, he registered complaints. Based on his possession of another inmate’s grievance forms, Wisniewski was found guilty of engaging in or encouraging unauthorized group activity, possession or circulation of a petition, possession of contraband, and lying to an employee. The charges were dismissed after Wisniewski spent 90 days in the Restricted Housing Unit. Wisniewski alleged additional retaliation: removal from his job, tampering with his television, denying him yard time, delaying his disciplinary confinement release, and interfering with his access to legal materials and the photocopier. The district court dismissed the claims arising out of events that occurred more than two years before the filing of the complaint and dismissed the remaining First Amendment retaliation claims for failure to state a claim. The Third Circuit reversed in part; the district court erred in dismissing the claims as time-barred without considering whether Wisniewski properly exhausted administrative remedies and to what extent the limitations period should be tolled.