When would exhaustion of remedies apply and how is it utilized? This doctrine is used in federal, state and local civil rights cases. In the United States, there is a wealth of cases that are concerned with statutes or regulations requiring that such cases first must be heard by independent government agencies. Thus, the agency that administers the regulation or statute that is being addressed in the complaint is first involved in trying to find a remedy before the case can moves into a federal or state court, all-potential remedies must be exhausted within the agency before suit is filed.
Exactly how exhaustion of remedies works and what a person’s rights and duties are in the process depends on the statute or regulation involved. With exhaustion of remedies involving a federal agency, a person who has a complaint must first go to the agency that administers the regulation or statute. Often the person with the complaint must file a petition. They then undergo a hearing and if they are unhappy with the outcome of that hearing, they may file an appeal. If the appeal is unsuccessful, they may then seek remedy through a federal court. The same basic process is also used in many states and local governments when those regulations are at issue.