Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Arizona. D.C. No. CV-91-6-PHX-RGS. Roger G. Strand, District Judge, Presiding.
Before: Browning, Tang, and Wiggins, Circuit Judges.
Greg Schultz, an Arizona state prisoner serving a concurrent federal sentence, appeals pro se the district court's dismissal of his Bivens*fn1 action for failure to exhaust administrative remedies. Schultz alleged that his constitutional rights were violated because he was not permitted to appear personally at his United States Parole Commission hearing. We have jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1291. We review de novo, Jackson v. Arizona, 885 F.2d 639, 640 (9th Cir. 1989), and reverse and remand.
We construe the district court's dismissal of a complaint prior to service of process as a dismissal for frivolousness pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(d). Id. A complaint is frivolous "where it lacks an arguable basis either in law or fact." Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). Before dismissing a complaint, the district court must give a pro se litigant an opportunity to amend, unless it is absolutely clear the complaint's deficiencies cannot be cured by amendment. Noll v. Carlson, 809 F.2d 1446, 1448 (9th Cir. 1987).
Here, Schultz filed his original complaint alleging that, because he was in state prison, he was denied his right to appear personally before the United States Parole Commission hearing. He alleged that this violated his due process and equal protection rights. He sought injunctive relief and damages. The district court dismissed his complaint with leave to amend, advising him that a prisoner must exhaust administrative remedies before filing a Bivens action seeking injunctive relief. Schultz amended his complaint to seek monetary relief only. The district court dismissed the complaint and action, relying on Hessbrook v. Lennon, 777 F.2d 999 (5th Cir. 1985), which requires prisoners to exhaust administrative remedies even where they seek monetary relief only.
The Supreme Court recently addressed the issue of exhaustion of administrative remedies for a Bivens claim. McCarthy v. Madigan, 60 U.S.L.W. 4191 (U.S. Mar. 4, 1992). Resolving a split among the circuits,*fn2 the Court held that federal prisoners need not exhaust administrative remedies before filing a Bivens action that seeks monetary relief only. Id. at 4193-94. Here, Schultz's amended complaint sought monetary relief only. Thus, he was not required to exhaust administrative remedies. See id.