Talley v. Wetzel

In an opinion full of allusions to baseball, the Third Circuit worked to clarify what constitutes a strike under 28 U.S.C. § 1915. That statute grants prisoners the right to proceed in federal court without prepaying filing fees. But the law revokes the right if the prisoner has three prior actions dismissed because they are frivolous, malicious, or fail to state a claim. Here, the defendant — the superintendent of state prisons — claimed that the plaintiff had at least three strikes based on prior “mixed dismissals”. Various district courts had dismissed the plaintiff’s claims on grounds enumerated in § 1915 and declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over his state law claims. But the Third Circuit held that such mixed dismissals are not strikes, so the plaintiff was still up to bat. Nonetheless, the Third Circuit granted summary judgment on the merits in favor of the defendant. Yer out!

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