WILLIAM R. JONES, Appellant
UNKNOWN D.O.C. BUS DRIVER AND TRANSPORTATION CREW; MARK CAPOZZA, Superintendent, in his personal and professional capacity; CAPT. MOHRING, in his personal and professional capacity
Argued: September 12, 2019
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western
District of Pennsylvania (D.C. No. 2:16-cv-01174) Magistrate
Judge: Honorable Lisa P. Lenihan
H. Ali [ARGUED] Roderick & Solange MacArthur Justice
Center Counsel for Appellant
L. Friedline Anthony T. Kovalchick [ARGUED] Kemal A. Mericli
Office of Attorney General of Pennsylvania Counsel for
Before: HARDIMAN, GREENAWAY, JR., and BIBAS, Circuit Judges.
OPINION OF THE COURT
prisoner wants to file a § 1983 suit, he must exhaust
the prison's internal administrative remedies first.
Because he must clear this hurdle before suing, we wait to
start the limitations clock until after he has exhausted them
(or after his release, whichever comes first). This is true
whether he sues from prison or sues after his release. Either
way, the plaintiff had to delay filing while he exhausted his
remedies in prison.
prisoner William Jones spent the last ten months of his
Pennsylvania state prison sentence exhausting his
administrative remedies for alleged violations of his
constitutional rights. Just under two years after his
release, he filed a § 1983 claim against various prison
officials. A magistrate judge, who was presiding with the
parties' consent, dismissed his complaint as time-barred,
finding that Jones had filed the claim after
Pennsylvania's two-year limitations period had expired.
But because we exclude the ten months Jones spent exhausting
his administrative remedies from the two-year clock,
Jones's filing was timely. So we will vacate the
magistrate judge's order.
his claims are timely, some fail on other grounds. Jones
failed to state a claim against two of the appellees. And his
claim for injunctive relief became moot when he was released
from prison. So we will affirm the dismissal of these claims.
On remand, Jones may pursue his claims for monetary relief
against the remaining defendants.
The bus incidents
reviewing this motion to dismiss, we take the allegations in
the complaint as true: Jones is a former Pennsylvania state
prisoner. On October 31, 2013, he was on a prison bus,
traveling to court for his post-conviction hearing. Jones
struck up a conversation with a fellow inmate. In response,
the bus driver "threaten[ed]" Jones and the other
inmate, telling them to "shut up" or else he would
take their boxes of property. App. 93. The driver then
intentionally switched Jones's property box with that of
the other inmate. The box held Jones's legal books and
papers that he had prepared for the hearing. Without them, he
could not present his arguments for a reduced sentence to the
two weeks later, Jones was waiting in line for another prison
bus. The same bus driver yanked him out of line, put him in
the bus's segregation cage, and berated him. Jones told
the other inmates to get the names of the bus driver and
transportation crew so he could report their actions. In
response, they took off their name tags. Jones never learned
stress of this incident exacerbated his mental ailments and
caused him to have a nervous breakdown. For two days after
the second bus ride, ...