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Scotti v. Taylor

August 17, 2004

RONALD SCOTTI, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
ANNE R. TAYLOR, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



Appeal from Circuit Court of Livingston County. No. 03MR67. Honorable Harold J. Frobish, Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Steigmann

PUBLISHED

In June 2003, plaintiff, Ronald Scotti, an Illinois Department of Corrections (DOC) inmate, filed a pro se petition for mandamus against defendant, Anne R. Taylor, chairman of the Prisoner Review Board. Three days later, the trial court sua sponte dismissed the petition for failure to state a cause of action.

Scotti appeals, arguing that the trial court erred by dismissing his petition because it stated a cause of action. We reverse and remand.

I. BACKGROUND

In his June 2003 mandamus petition, Scotti alleged that Taylor failed to comply with section 3-5-1(b) of the Unified Code of Corrections (Code) (730 ILCS 5/3-5-1(b) (West 2002)), in that a portion of his good-conduct credit had been revoked and he was not provided with the factual information that was relied upon by DOC and the review board in making the determination to revoke it. He also alleged that his due process rights were violated by Taylor's failure to provide him with the factual basis for the revocation of his good-conduct credit. As relief, Scotti sought an order compelling Taylor to (1) comply with section 3- 5-1(b) of the Code by providing him with the factual information underlying the revocation of his good-conduct credit and (2) restore his good-conduct credit.

Scotti attached to his mandamus petition (1) a copy of a sentence-calculation worksheet showing that in February 2003, one month of his good-conduct credit was revoked; and (2) a copy of a March 7, 2003, grievance filed by Scotti, alleging that (a) DOC or the review board failed to comply with section 3-5-1(b) of the Code (730 ILCS 5/3-5-1(b) (West 2002)) and (b) the only document he received after his revocation hearing was the aforementioned sentence-calculation worksheet. A written response dated March 11, 2003, appears in the section of the grievance form designated for a grievance counselor's response and states as follows: "Record office supervisor indicates they do not have the information requested."

On June 23, 2003, the trial court dismissed Scotti's mandamus petition in a docket entry, which states as follows:

"The [c]court, having examined the submissions of [Scotti] wherein he complains about revocation of certain good time as a result of certain disciplinary proceedings. The [c]court finds that [Scotti] has wholly failed to state a cause of action in mandamus. Therefore, this cause is hereby dismissed." This appeal followed.

II. THE TRIAL COURT'S DISMISSAL OF SCOTTI'S MANDAMUS PETITION

Scotti argues that the trial court erred by dismissing his mandamus petition. We agree.

We review de novo a trial court's dismissal of a complaint for failure to state a cause of action. Bajwa v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., 208 Ill. 2d 414, 421, 804 N.E.2d 519, 525 (2004). Such dismissal will be held proper only if it clearly appears that no set of facts can be proved under the pleadings which will entitled the plaintiff to recover. Bajwa, 208 Ill. 2d at 421, 804 N.E.2d at 525.

"Mandamus relief is an extraordinary remedy to enforce, as a matter of right, the performance of official duties by a public official where the official is not exercising discretion. A court will not grant a writ of mandamus unless the petitioner can demonstrate a clear, affirmative right to relief, a clear duty of the official to act, and clear authority in the official to comply with the writ. The writ will not lie when its effect is to substitute the court's judgment or discretion for the official's judgment or discretion. Mandamus relief, therefore, is not appropriate to regulate a course of ...


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