Argued: December 6, 2016
from the United States District Court for the Eastern
District of Virginia, at Norfolk. Mark S. Davis, District
Francine Hutton, O'MELVENY & MYERS LLP, Washington,
D.C., for Appellant.
Matthew Robert McGuire, OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF
VIRGINIA, Richmond, Virginia, for Appellees.
Cohen, O'MELVENY & MYERS LLP, Washington, D.C., for
R. Herring, Attorney General of Virginia, Stuart A. Raphael,
Solicitor General, Trevor S. Cox, Deputy Solicitor General,
OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF VIRGINIA, Richmond,
Virginia, for Appellees.
GREGORY, Chief Judge, and TRAXLER and DIAZ, Circuit Judges.
GREGORY, Chief Judge
Custis was an inmate at Sussex I State Prison. Because he is
missing toes on his right foot, the Virginia Department of
Corrections medical staff required that Custis be assigned to
a bottom bunk in a bottom-tier cell. He originally received a
compliant bunk assignment, but was later temporarily moved to
an upper-tier cell. He fell and injured himself while
ascending the stairs to his upper-tier cell.
pursued his prison's administrative grievance process,
and then filed suit. The district court sua sponte dismissed
Custis's complaint on the ground that he failed to
properly exhaust his administrative remedies. For the reasons
below, we vacate the district court's dismissal and
remand for further proceedings.
Custis appeals the district court's dismissal for failure
to properly exhaust his administrative remedies, we first
provide an overview of the prison's grievance procedure,
to the extent that it is explained in the ...