United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
M. YANDLE U.S. District Judge
an inmate at Shawnee Correctional Center, brings this
Petition for a Writ of Mandamus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
2321 and 28 U.S.C. § 1361. He seeks to compel the
respondents to produce certain medical records and other
documents that he alleges are relevant to his state court
civil suit, No. 15-mr-3, filed in Sangamon County, a Freedom
of Information Act Request case and appeal, and a case
pending in this Court, No. 15-cv-918-MJR-SCW (hereinafter
“§ 1983 case”). The Court also takes up
Petitioner’s Motion for Leave to Proceed IFP (Doc. 3)
and his Motion to Stay at this time. (Doc. 4).
Petitioner has alleged that the documents are relevant to
15-918, the Court takes judicial notice of several facts in
the record on that case. Petitioner filed his § 1983
case on August 7, 2015 in the Northern District of Illinois.
(Doc. 1, § 1983 case). It was transferred to this Court
on August 18, 2015. (Doc. 7, § 1983 case). In lieu of an
Answer, the defendants moved to stay proceedings in their
entirety because the matter was part of the ongoing
litigation in the state court case, 15-3. (Doc. 40, §
1983 case). The Court stayed the case on March 2, 2016
pending the resolution of the state case. (Doc. 62, §
days after the case had been stayed, Petitioner filed a
motion seeking the medical records relevant to his case.
(Doc. 63, § 1983 case). That motion was denied due to
the stay. (Doc. 65, § 1983 case). Undaunted, Petitioner
continued to file various discovery motions and objections.
Petitioner filed a Motion for Leave to File a Petition for
Writ of Mandamus on April 14, 2016, (Doc. 73, § 1983
case); in fact, he attached an identical copy of that motion
to this case at Doc. 1-2. That motion was denied because the
case was stayed. (Doc. 76, § 1983 case). On April 27,
2016 the stay was lifted as Defendants had indicated that the
state court case had been dismissed; Defendants were also
directed to file a motion on res judicata grounds. (Doc. 79,
§ 1983 case).
immediately re-filed all of the motions that had been denied
while the case was stayed, including his Motion for Writ of
Mandamus. (Doc. 84, § 1983 case). The Petition presently
before the Court appears to be an exact copy of the motion
filed at Doc. 84 in Petitioner’s § 1983 case. That
motion is currently pending and no ruling has issued.
Court directed, the defendants filed a motion raising the
issue of res judicata in the § 1983 case at Doc. 89. The
defendants argued that there are identical parties and cause
of action between the suits, and that there has been a final
judgment on the merits in the state court suit. (Doc. 90,
§ 1983 case). Notably, the defendants quote Judge
Schmidt, who oversaw the state court action, as finding that
“[Petitioner] has provided the Court with extensive
records of his medical history and treatment. The Court finds
these records to be credible and further finds these records
contradict [Petitioner]’s claims that he was denied
treatment or knowingly or intentionally provided ineffective
treatment.” (Doc. 90, p. 4, § 1983 case).
17, 2016, the defendants moved the Court to stay discovery
pending the outcome of the motion to dismiss on res judicata
grounds. (Doc. 92, § 1983 case). The Court granted that
relief, and denied several of Petitioner’s discovery
motions pending resolution of the dispositive motions. (Doc.
94, § 1983 case). Petitioner was instructed that he may
renew his discovery requests when and if the case survives.
(Doc. 94, § 1983 case). Discovery remains stayed in that
implicit in the above history of Petitioner’s
litigation efforts, his Petition is fatally flawed and will
be dismissed with prejudice.
mandamus is not an appropriate remedy against the named
respondents because a federal district court has no mandamus
jurisdiction to compel action by state court officials.
Jones v. Burris, 825 F.Supp. 860, 861 (N.D. Ill.
1993). Under 28 U.S.C. § 1361, the "district courts
shall have original jurisdiction of any action in the nature
of mandamus to compel an officer or employee of the United
States or any agency thereof to perform a duty owed to the
Petitioner." Respondents here are neither officers nor
employees of the United States or any agency thereof. They
are state employees. In other circumstances, the Court might
have construed Petitioner’s claims as falling under
§ 1983, but it is clear from Petitioner’s
litigation history that he has pursued his remedies as to
those claims in other litigation, including § 1983
has also cited to 28 U.S.C. § 2321 as a source of
jurisdiction, but that act authorizes judicial review of the
Surface Transportation Board orders and decisions. It is not
relevant to these proceedings as they do not implicate those
orders and decisions in any way, shape or form.
the grant of jurisdiction to hear mandamus actions has been
substantially limited in scope in this Circuit. Specifically,
the Seventh Circuit has recognized that mandamus is an
"extraordinary remedy" and, as such, may be invoked
only when there is: (1) a clear right to the relief sought;
(2) a plainly defined and peremptory duty on the part of the
defendant to do the act in question; and (3) no other
adequate remedy available. Scalise v. Thornburgh,
891 F.2d 640, 647-48 (7th Cir. 1989), cert. denied, 494 U.S.
1083 (1990); Burnett v. Bowen, 830 F.2d 731, 739
(7th Cir.1987) (quoting Homewood Professional Healthcare
Center, Ltd. v. Heckler, 764 F.2d 1242, 1251 (7th
Cir.1985)); see also Save the Dunes Council v.
Alexander, 584 F.2d 158, 162 (7th Cir.1978) (It is
manifest that the judiciary cannot compel through a writ of
mandamus a federal official to perform any function unless
the official is clearly directed by law to perform such a
writ is far from Petitioner’s only adequate remedy.
Petitioner has pursued these same claims in state court, and
it appears from the judge’s comments in that case that
Petitioner conducted discovery and acquired some of the
documents he now seeks in that forum. Additionally, and
perhaps because he was not content with the direction of the
state court claims, he has brought identical claims in this
Court. Discovery has not closed in that case and may yet be
available to Petitioner. Petitioner has explicitly been
advised that he may pursue all of his discovery options,
including motions to compel, if and when his case survives
the pending motions to dismiss. Petitioner concedes as much
himself in his motion to stay, discussed in depth below.
(Doc. 4). Petitioner has also ignored other procedural
methods that may have afforded him relief. The order denying
Petitioner’s most recent discovery requests was signed
by the Magistrate Judge on that case. Petitioner could have
appealed that order to Chief District Judge Reagan pursuant
to Local Rule 73.1, but choose not to. Finally, Petitioner
has an identical motion pending in his § 1983 case,
which makes this case particularly frivolous as the request
for relief is already under consideration by another judge of