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Hatch v. Szymanski

November 08, 2001

JESSE M. HATCH, PETITIONER-APPELLANT,
v.
ZENON SZYMANSKI, ET AL., RESPONDENTS-APPELLEES.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of the 12th Judicial Circuit, Will County, Illinois No. 00--MR--330 Honorable Edwin Grabiec, Judge, Presiding

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Holdridge.

Ordered published January 2, 2002.

JESSE M. HATCH, PETITIONER-APPELLANT,
v.
ZENON SZYMANSKI, ET AL., RESPONDENTS-APPELLEES.

Appeal from the Circuit Court of the 12th Judicial Circuit, Will County, Illinois No. 00--MR--330 Honorable Edwin Grabiec, Judge, Presiding

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Holdridge.

Jesse Hatch was an inmate in the Stateville Correctional Center when he submitted a pro se petition asking the court to issue a writ of mandamus. *fn1 In his petition, Hatch alleged that Zenon Szymanski, Stateville's superintendent in charge of the prison's industry program, had an official duty to consider Hatch for a job in either the prison's garment shop or furniture shop. The State moved to dismiss the petition for failure to state a cause of action. 735 ILCS 5/2--615(a) (West 2000). The circuit court granted the motion. On appeal, Hatch argues that the court erred by granting the State's motion to dismiss because his petition stated a cause of action for mandamus relief. Hatch also asserts, for the first time on appeal, that he is entitled to monetary damages. We affirm.

BACKGROUND

Szymanski oversaw the Stateville Correctional Center industries program, which consisted of a soap shop, a furniture shop, and a garment shop. In May 1997, Hatch submitted a written request to Szymanski for a prison job assignment with the program. In this request, Hatch stated that he had previous wood working experience and that he had worked in the garment shop prior to having been transferred out of Stateville for a period of time. In July 1997, Hatch spoke with Szymanski, who acknowledged receipt of Hatch's written request and advised him that there was a waiting list of at least two years for jobs in the industries program.

In December 1997, Hatch was placed in disciplinary segregation at the prison and his name was taken off the waiting list for the industries program. After going through the prison's grievance procedure, Hatch's disciplinary violation was expunged from his record. However, his name was not placed back on the industries program's waiting list.

Hatch submitted another written grievance requesting a job in the furniture shop or the garment shop in May 1999. In response, the prison's grievance officer recommended that Hatch's name be placed back on the waiting list in the position it occupied as of May 1997.

Hatch was interviewed by the soap shop's supervisor in November 1999. He was told that the only position available at that time was as a janitor in the soap shop. He declined this job offer, claiming that the chemicals used in the soap manufacturing process were harmful to his health because of his allergies and hypertension.

After refusing the janitorial position, Hatch wrote a letter to Szymanski explaining that, although he had been offered this job, he never had expressed an interest in working in the soap shop. His letter reiterated that he had experience working with wood and had previous experience working in the garment shop. Hatch again asked that he be considered for a job at either the furniture shop or the garment shop. Szymanski did not respond to this letter.

On May 5, 2000, Hatch petitioned the circuit court pro se for a writ of mandamus to require Szymanski to follow the prison's administrative procedures and to hire him in either the furniture shop or the garment shop. On August 24, 2000, the State filed a motion to dismiss the petition for failure to state a cause of action. The record does not include a transcript or any other account of the hearing on the motion to dismiss. In the court's order, dated September 28, 2000, the judge indicated that after a ...


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