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Broken Gate? A Study of the PLRA Exhaustion Requirement Past, Present, and Future
Unformatted Document Text:  Broken Gate? incarceration, it took the medical staff present three (3) attempts to locate a vein sufficient for the blood draw (Ali, 2006). Ali filed a grievance alleging that he received inadequate medical care for the three (3) needle holes left by these attempts to obtain a blood sample for his DNA test (Ali, 2006). Having exhausted the grievance to final review within the SCI-Greene administrative grievance procedure, Ali proceeded with a section 1983 lawsuit in federal court (Ali, 2006. Trial in the case – again, regarding whether he should have received more than a band aid and cotton swab for the needle pricks left by the attempts to draw his blood – will begin on March 16, 2009 in the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania before Chief District Judge Donetta W. Ambrose (Ali, 2006). In the more than three (3) years since Ali brought his claim, Chief Judge Ambrose, as well as the magistrate judge assigned below her, have been busied by literally dozens of the inmate’s court filings (Ali, 2006). The Office of Attorney General – who, in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is tasked with defending department of corrections employees such as the defendants in Ali – has expended hundreds of working hours in addressing Ali’s filings and preparing for trial (Ali, 2006). At trial, a jury of new fewer than six (6) nor more than 12 citizens will be empanelled to decide Ali’s case (Ali, 2006). An unknowable amount of money will be spent providing Ali secure transportation from his home institution to the courthouse each day, as well as for the United States Marshals who will provide courtroom security services during the proceedings (Ali, 2006). The Ali case illustrates that, while proponents of the PLRA may have exaggerated the volume of frivolous inmate litigation, 18

Authors: Passarelli, Mariah.
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Broken Gate?
incarceration, it took the medical staff present three (3) attempts to locate a vein 
sufficient for the blood draw (Ali, 2006).  
Ali filed a grievance alleging that he received inadequate medical care for the 
three (3) needle holes left by these attempts to obtain a blood sample for his DNA test 
(Ali, 2006).  Having exhausted the grievance to final review within the SCI-Greene 
administrative grievance procedure, Ali proceeded with a section 1983 lawsuit in federal 
court (Ali, 2006.  Trial in the case – again, regarding whether he should have received 
more than a band aid and cotton swab for the needle pricks left by the attempts to draw 
his blood – will begin on March 16, 2009 in the United States District Court for the 
Western District of Pennsylvania before Chief District Judge Donetta W. Ambrose (Ali
2006).
In the more than three (3) years since Ali brought his claim, Chief Judge 
Ambrose, as well as the magistrate judge assigned below her, have been busied by 
literally dozens of the inmate’s court filings (Ali, 2006).  The Office of Attorney General 
– who, in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is tasked with defending department of 
corrections employees such as the defendants in Ali – has expended hundreds of working 
hours in addressing Ali’s filings and preparing for trial (Ali, 2006).  
At trial, a jury of new fewer than six (6) nor more than 12 citizens will be 
empanelled to decide Ali’s case (Ali, 2006).  An unknowable amount of money will be 
spent providing Ali secure transportation from his home institution to the courthouse each 
day, as well as for the United States Marshals who will provide courtroom security 
services during the proceedings (Ali, 2006).  The Ali case illustrates that, while 
proponents of the PLRA may have exaggerated the volume of frivolous inmate litigation, 
18


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