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Steidl v. Madigan

Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Sixth Division

January 8, 2016

GORDON RANDY STEIDL, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
LISA MADIGAN, Defendant-Appellee

          Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 14 CH 6113. Honorable Rita M. Novak, Judge, Presiding.

         FOR APPELLANT(s): John L. Stainthorp, Jan Susler, G. Flint Taylor, People's Law Office, Chicago, IL.

         FOR APPELLEE(s): Carolyn E. Shapiro, Solicitor General, and Mary E. Welsh, Assistant Attorney General, Chicago, IL.

         Rochford, Presiding Justice and Delort, Justice concurred in the judgment and opinion.

          OPINION

Page 181

          HOFFMAN, JUSTICE.

          [¶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 prison.

          [¶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

Page 182

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 ...


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