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Ratliff-El v. Briley

May 2, 2003

MICHAEL RATLIFF-EL, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
KENNETH R. BRILEY, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of the 12th Judicial Circuit, Will County, Illinois No. 01--MR--115 Honorable Kathleen J. Kallan, Judge, Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Presiding Justice McDADE

PUBLISHED

Michael Ratliff-El filed a complaint for mandamus relief (735 ILCS 5/14--101 et seq. (West 2000)) naming Kenneth R. Briley, warden of the Stateville Correctional Center, as the defendant. The trial court granted the defendant's motion to dismiss under section 2--615 of the Code of Civil Procedure (735 ILCS 5/2--615 (West 2000)). On appeal, Ratliff-El argues that the trial court erred by dismissing his complaint because it stated a cause of action for mandamus relief. We affirm.

BACKGROUND

Ratliff-El is a prisoner at Stateville. In his complaint, Ratliff-El contended that the defendant had a clear duty to follow the Illinois Administrative Procedure Act (Act) (5 ILCS 100/1--1 et seq. (West 2000)) during adjustment committee and grievance proceedings at Stateville. As a result of such proceedings, Ratliff-El had been disciplined with revocation of good time credits. Ratliff-El submitted that he was entitled to mandamus relief because the defendant had failed to follow Act procedures. He also alleged that the defendant's failure to follow Act procedures violated his "rights."

The defendant filed a section 2--615 motion to dismiss Ratliff-El's mandamus complaint for failure to state a cause of action. In his motion to dismiss, the defendant argued that the Act does not apply to adjustment committee and grievance proceedings conducted by the Department of Corrections (DOC). The trial court granted the defendant's motion to dismiss and Ratliff-El appealed.

ANALYSIS

Motion to Dismiss Mandamus Action

A. DOC Duty to Follow Act Procedures

Ratliff-El argues that a state agency must follow Act procedures in "contested cases." He reasons that because the DOC is a state agency, and adjustment committee and grievance proceedings meet the statutory definition of "contested cases," the defendant has a clear duty to follow Act procedures in DOC adjustment committee and grievance proceedings. He contends that the trial court erred in granting the defendant's motion to dismiss his mandamus cause of action.

The defendant asserts that the APA contains a "grandfathering" clause (5 ILCS 100/1--5(a) (West 2000)) which exempts a state agency from using Act procedures when the agency had adjudicatory hearing rules in place on July 1, 1977. The defendant contends that the DOC had such adjudicatory hearing rules in place prior to July 1, 1977. The defendant submits that because the Act does not apply to DOC adjustment committee and grievance proceedings, the defendant has no duty to follow Act procedures. The defendant concludes, therefore, that Ratliff-El did not state a cause of action for mandamus relief. We agree with the defendant.

A section 2--615 motion to dismiss attacks the legal sufficiency of a complaint and presents the issue of whether the complaint states a cause of action upon which relief can be granted. 735 ILCS 5/2--615 (West 2000); Weiss v. Waterhouse Securities, Inc., 335 Ill. App. 3d 875, 781 N.E.2d 1105 (2002). The standard of review for granting a section 2--615 motion to dismiss is de novo. Krilich v. American National Bank & Trust Co. of Chicago, 334 Ill. App. 3d 563, 778 N.E.2d 1153 (2002).

A writ of mandamus is an extraordinary remedy that may be used only to compel a public official to perform a non-discretionary ministerial duty. Caruth v. Quinley, 333 Ill. App. 3d 94, 775 N.E.2d 224 (2002). A complaint seeking a writ of mandamus must allege facts that establish (1) a clear right to the relief requested; (2) a clear duty of the defendant to act; and (3) the clear authority of the defendant to comply with the writ. Southern & Central Illinois ...


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