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Dumas v. Pappas

Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Sixth Division

February 7, 2014

BETTY J. DUMAS and JEROME CASIMIR, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
MARIA PAPPAS, Cook County Treasurer and ex officio County Collector, DAVID ORR, Cook County Clerk, and JOSEPH BERRIOS, Cook County Assessor, Defendants-Appellees

Page 371

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 12 CH 2120. Honorable Michael B. Hyman, Judge Presiding.

Affirmed.

SYLLABUS

The dismissal of plaintiffs' petition for a writ of mandamus and a declaratory judgment against the county treasurer, county clerk, and county assessor with prejudice and without leave to amend was affirmed, notwithstanding plaintiffs' allegations of errors in the calculation of their property taxes, since plaintiffs failed to exhaust their administrative remedies, failed to state a cause of action for the issuance of a writ of mandamus, and failed to allege that their property was exempt or that the real estate taxes were unauthorized by law, they were not entitled to amend their petition, and they could not allege additional facts establishing subject matter jurisdiction.

Betty J. Dumas-Casimir and Jerome J. Casimir, of Chicago, appellants pro se .

Anita M. Alvarez, State's Attorney, of Chicago (Patrick T. Driscoll, Jr., Tatia Gibbons, and Julie Ann Sebastian, Assistant State's Attorneys, of counsel), for appellees.

JUSTICE HALL delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Presiding Justice Rochford and Justice Lampkin concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

HALL, JUSTICE.

Page 372

[¶1] The pro se plaintiffs, Betty J. Dumas and Jerome J. Casimir, appeal from an order of the circuit court of Cook County dismissing their petition for a writ of mandamus and for a declaratory judgment against the defendants, Maria Pappas, Cook County treasurer, David Orr, Cook County clerk, and Joseph Berrios, Cook County assessor. On appeal, the plaintiffs contend that the circuit court erred in dismissing the petition and that they should have been allowed to amend the petition. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm the judgment of the circuit court.

[¶2] On January 20, 2012, the plaintiffs filed a pro se petition seeking a writ of mandamus ordering defendant Orr to recompute the plaintiffs' property tax bills for the years 2007 through 2011 and for a judgment declaring that the overassessment of their real property was unlawful since it was based on an improper method of valuation, erroneous billings and lack of notice of the sale of the property. In support of the petition, the plaintiffs alleged that in January 2007, they were the owners of real property located at 3620 South Calumet Avenue, Chicago. In 2007, a fire destroyed the structure on the property, and the property was vacant for the remainder of 2007 and 2008.

[¶3] The plaintiffs alleged that errors occurred in the assessment of their property based on the following facts:

A. For the 2007 tax year, the property had an assessed value of $5,706, an equalized value of $5,706 and was subject ...

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