Between December 27, 2017, and March 30, 2018, Hardy filed no less than twelve grievances seeking medical care for the worsening condition of his leg, all of which were rejected on varying grounds. A few months after the last rejection, Hardy’s fears came to pass and medical staff determined it was necessary to amputate a portion of his leg. Based on these events, Hardy filed a complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and state law against both the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) and several Camp Hill medical professionals. The District Court granted the defendants’ summary judgment motion, finding Hardy failed to appeal his rejected grievances, and, thus, his claims were unexhausted. The 3rd Circuit Court reversed.
The 3rd Circuit established a test for an inmate to defeat a failure-to-exhaust based on a misrepresentation by prison staff. An inmate must show (1) that the misrepresentation is one which a reasonable inmate would be entitled to rely on and sufficiently misleading to interfere with a reasonable inmate’s use of the grievance process, and (2) that the inmate was actually misled by the misrepresentation. The Court then applied the test to Hardy’s case and determined Hardy met his burden on both prongs.