Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Sixth Division
from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 14 CH 6113.
Honorable Rita M. Novak, Judge, Presiding.
APPELLANT(s): John L. Stainthorp, Jan Susler, G. Flint
Taylor, People's Law Office, Chicago, IL.
APPELLEE(s): Carolyn E. Shapiro, Solicitor General, and Mary
E. Welsh, Assistant Attorney General, Chicago, IL.
HOFFMAN delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.
Presiding Justice Rochford and Justice Delort concurred in
the judgment and opinion.
[¶1] The plaintiff, Gordon Randy Steidl,
appeals from an order of the circuit court of Cook County
dismissing his complaint for mandamus against Lisa
Madigan, the Attorney General of Illinois (Attorney General).
For the reasons which follow, we affirm.
[¶2] The facts necessary to a resolution of
this appeal are taken from the allegations contained in the
plaintiff's complaint and from judicial decisions of
which we take judicial notice. The plaintiff was convicted
for the 1986 murders of Dyke and Karen Rhoads in Paris,
Illinois, and received a death sentence. People v.
Steidl, 142 Ill.2d 204, 218, 568 N.E.2d 837, 154
Ill.Dec. 616 (1991). His sentence was later reduced to life
imprisonment. On June 17, 2003, the United States District
Court for the Central District of Illinois (District Court)
granted the plaintiff's habeas corpus petition,
vacated his convictions and ordered that he be retried within
120 days or be released. Steidl v. Walls, 267
F.Supp.2d 919, 941 (C.D. Ill. 2003). The State elected not to
appeal that order, and the plaintiff was released from
[¶3] Following his release, the plaintiff
filed a civil rights action in the District Court against a
number of individuals and entities involved in his
prosecution, including Michael McFatridge, the elected
State's Attorney of Edgar County, Illinois, who
prosecuted the plaintiff. The plaintiff asserted claims
against McFatridge under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for false
imprisonment, wrongful conviction, and violations of his
right to due process. In addition, the plaintiff asserted
Illinois common law claims against McFatridge for false
imprisonment, malicious prosecution, intentional infliction
of emotional distress, and conspiracy.
[¶4] In June 2005, McFatridge made a demand
pursuant to section 2 of the State Employee Indemnification
Act (Act) (5 ILCS 350/2 (West 2004)) upon the Attorney
General for representation in the civil rights action.
McFatridge v. Madigan, 2013 IL 113676, ¶ 6, 989
N.E.2d 165, 989 N.E.2d 165. By letter dated July 6, 2005, the
Attorney General declined the request, stating that the
claims pending against McFatridge contain allegations of acts
and omissions of intentional, willful and wanton misconduct.
Id., ¶ 7.
[¶5] On March 27, 2013, the District Court
entered a " Consent Judgment" against McFatridge
and other defendants in the civil rights action. The Consent
Judgment contained findings that, at all times relevant,
McFatridge had acted within the scope of his employment and
that his actions or inactions were intended to serve and
benefit the interests of the State of Illinois. Judgment in
the sum of $2 million plus interest was entered in favor of
the plaintiff and against McFatridge. According to the
Consent Judgment, Edgar County and its insurers agreed to pay
the plaintiff $375,000 in partial satisfaction of the
judgment entered against McFatridge. It also states that
McFatridge had assigned his claim for indemnification from
the State of Illinois for the remaining portion of the
judgment against him in the amount of " $1,650,000.00 [
sic ]" together with post-judgment interest to
the plaintiff in exchange for the plaintiff's covenant
not to execute on any portion of the judgment against
McFatridge and his personal assets.
[¶6] On April 24, 2013, the plaintiff, as
assignee of McFatridge, made a formal demand on the State of
Illinois and the Attorney General pursuant to section 2 of
the Act (5 ILCS 350/2 (West 2012)) for full payment of the
outstanding $1.65 million judgment against McFatridge
together with post-judgment interest. On May 24, 2013, the
Attorney General rejected the plaintiff's demand,
asserting that McFatridge had no right to indemnification as:
the acts and omissions upon which the judgment against him
was based were intentional, willful or wanton; no court or
jury has found that his acts or omissions were not
intentional, willful or wanton; and the Attorney General had
not approved the settlement between the plaintiff and
[¶7] On April 9, 2014, the plaintiff filed
the instant action for mandamus, seeking an order
directing the Attorney General to certify for payment from
the State Treasury the unpaid portion of the judgment against
McFatridge plus post-judgment interest. As her responsive
pleading, the Attorney General filed a combined motion to
dismiss under section 2-619.1 of the Code of Civil Procedure
(Code) (735 ILCS 5/2-619.1 (West 2014)). The Attorney General
sought dismissal under section 2-615 of the Code (735 ILCS
5/2-619.1 (West 2014)), alleging that the plaintiff's
complaint failed to state a cause of action for
mandamus ; and under section 2-619(a)(4) of the Code
(735 ILCS 5/2-619(a)(4) (West 2014)), alleging that the
action is barred by another judgment. On December 4, 2014,
the circuit court entered a memorandum decision and order in
which it denied the Attorney General's motion to dismiss
on section 2-619(a)(4) grounds and granted the motion to
dismiss on section 2-615 grounds, finding that the plaintiff
failed to state a claim for mandamus, as McFatridge
had no indemnification rights under the Act to assign to the
plaintiff. This appeal followed.
[¶8] As this case comes to us on appeal from
a dismissal pursuant to section 2-615 of the Code, our review
is de novo. King v. First Capital Financial
Services Corp., 215 Ill.2d 1, 12, 828 N.E.2d 1155, 293
Ill.Dec. 657 (2005). The issue presented is whether the
allegations contained in the plaintiff's complaint, taken
as true and construed in the light most favorable to the
plaintiff, are sufficient to state a cause of action upon
which relief may be granted. Id. at 11-12. An action
should not be dismissed pursuant to section 2-615 of the Code
unless the court is prepared to find that no set of facts can
be proven which would entitle the plaintiff to the relief
which he seeks. Marshall v. Burger King Corp., 222
Ill.2d 422, 429, 856 N.E.2d 1048, 305 Ill.Dec. 897 (2006).
[¶9] This appeal calls upon us to determine
whether the facts alleged in the plaintiff's complaint
entitle him to a writ of mandamus. That is, whether
the allegations in the complaint show a clear right of
recovery on the part of the plaintiff and a clear,