|RONALD ANDREW HERNDON,
JOE ORTIZ, Executive Director, Colorado Department of Corrections; CARY SHAMES, Chief Medical Officer; CORRECTIONS CORPORATION OF AMERICA (CCA); CORRECTIONAL MEDICAL SERVICES (CMS); BENT COUNTY CORRECTIONAL FACILITY (BCCF); CROWLEY COUNTY CORRECTIONAL FACILITY (CCCF); DEL LE COUNT, Health Services Administrator; J.G. SUTTON, Medical Doctor; and DR. NEECE, Medical Doctor,
(D.C. No. 05-cv-2532-ZLW)
Mr. Herndon, a Colorado state prisoner, filed a complaint in district court alleging he was provided constitutionally inadequate medical care while incarcerated. The court noted that prisoners must exhaust administrative remedies before challenging prison conditions in federal court. See 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a). The court then cited our holding in Steele v. Fed. Bureau of Prisons, 355 F.3d 1204, 1211 (10th Cir. 2003), which requires that prisoners demonstrate exhaustion in their complaint by "either attach[ing] copies of administrative proceedings or describ[ing] their disposition with specificity." As required by the district court, Mr. Herndon provided copies of filed grievances, but the court concluded these forms either did not include his present claims or were not timely filed. Rec., vol. I, doc. 8 at 4. Citing our discussion in Ross v. County of Bernalillo, 365 F.3d 1181, 1190 (10th Cir. 2004), the court also noted that Mr. Herndon had failed to comply with the total exhaustion rule because he clearly had not exhausted his equal protection claim. Id. The court dismissed the complaint for "failure to exhaust administrative remedies." Id. at 6. See also id. doc. 13 at 3 (denying motion to reconsider).
The Supreme Court recently held failure to exhaust administrative remedies as required by 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a) is an affirmative defense and not a pleading requirement. Jones v. Bock, 127 S.Ct. 910, 921 (2007). It also held that a total exhaustion rule is not permissible. Id. at 924. We have since recognized that Jones v. Bock overruled the pleading requirement outlined in Steele, as well as the total exhaustion rule set forth in Ross, the bases for the district court's dismissal of Mr. Herndon's complaint. See Aquilar-Avellaveda v. Terrell, 478 F.3d 1223, 1225 (10th Cir. 2007) (recognizing Jones overruled Steele); Freeman v. Watkins, 479 F.3d 1257, 1259-60 (10th Cir. 2007) (same re Ross). As we said in Freeman, "it is no longer appropriate for the district court to require an affirmative showing of exhaustion at this stage of the case." Id. at 1260.
Because Mr. Herndon demonstrated the existence of "a reasoned, nonfrivolous argument on the law and the facts in support of the issues raised on appeal," McIntosh v. U.S. Parole Comm'n, 115 F.3d 809, 812-13 (10th Cir. 1997), we GRANT his request to proceed ifp. In light of the recent rulings discussed above, we VACATE the district court's order and judgment of dismissal, and REMAND to the district court for further proceedings.
ENTERED FOR THE COURT
Stephanie K. Seymour
*.After examining appellant's brief and the appellate record, this panel has determined unanimously that oral argument would not materially assist the determination of this appeal. See Fed. R. App. P. 34(a)(2) and 10th Cir. R. 34.1(G). The case is therefore submitted without oral argument. This order and judgment is not binding precedent, except under the doctrines of law of the case, res judicata, or collateral estoppel. It may be cited, however, for its persuasive value consistent with Fed. R. App. P. 32.1 and 10th Cir. R. 32.1.
1.Because he is proceeding pro se, we review Mr. Herndon's filings liberally. See Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972); Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1110 (10th Cir. 1991).