Garrett v. Wexford Health, No. 17-3480 (3d Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
Garrett sued under 42 U.S.C. 1983, claiming deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs and retaliation. Garrett alleged that, while incarcerated, he had been prescribed a wheelchair and walker. When he was transferred to SCI Houtzdale in 2014, medical staff allegedly discontinued Garrett’s use of a walker and wheelchair, forbade him from receiving walking assistance from other inmates, and discontinued his “psych” medication. He acknowledged in his complaint that he had filed grievances but the grievance process was not complete. The district court dismissed many of pro se Garrett’s claims for failure to exhaust administrative remedies under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), 42 U.S.C. 1997e(a), and dismissed the remainder for failure to satisfy the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure “short and plain statement” requirement, Rule 8. The Third Circuit vacated. Garrett’s original complaint was defective because, as a prisoner when he filed it, he failed to first exhaust his administrative remedies. Two years later, Garrett filed an amended and supplemental complaint (TAC) under Rule 15, which superseded Garrett’s prior complaints. The TAC’s claims relate back to the original complaint because they concern the same core operative facts. When he filed the TAC, Garrett was no longer a prisoner and was not subject to the PLRA’s administrative exhaustion requirement. The TAC cured the original filing defect. The claims in Garrett’s pro se complaint are sufficiently “short” and “plain” and adequately put the defendants on notice of Garrett’s claims.