United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
R. HERNDON, United States District Court Judge
Frank Morgan, an inmate who is currently incarcerated in
Menard Correctional Center (“Menard”), brings
this pro se action seeking a writ of mandamus
pursuant to 735 Illinois Compiled Statutes 5/14-101 et
seq. (Docs. 1, 1-1). Morgan claims that respondents
failed to timely respond to his request for production of
documents made pursuant to the Illinois Freedom of
Information Act. (Doc. 1-1). He now seeks a writ of mandamus
compelling a response. (Docs. 1, 1-1).
case is before the Court for review pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A, which provides:
(a) Screening - The court shall review, before docketing, if
feasible or, in any event, as soon as practicable after
docketing, a complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner
seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or
employee of a governmental entity.
(b) Grounds for Dismissal - On review, the court shall
identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any
portion of the complaint, if the complaint-
(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim on
which relief may be granted; or
(2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from
28 U.S.C. § 1915A. After considering the allegations in
the petition and accepting them as true, the Court concludes
that this action is subject to summary dismissal.
seeks an order compelling John Baldwin (Illinois Department
of Corrections Director) and Jacqueline Lashbrook
(Menard's warden) to respond to his request to produce
documents pursuant to the Illinois Freedom of Information Act
(“FOIA”). (Doc. 1, pp. 1-21; Doc. 1-1). Morgan
did not provide the Court with a copy of his FOIA request(s)
or describe the contents of the request(s) in his petition.
Id. However, it appears that he seeks a formal
response to grievances he filed to challenge adverse
disciplinary decisions. Morgan filed several grievances as
exhibits to the petition. (Doc. 1, p. 4-12). In each, he
challenged adverse disciplinary rulings on Fourteenth
Amendment grounds. Id. He also included a letter
from Menard's Grievance Office, which explains that
Morgan filed his grievances through the wrong channels. (Doc.
1, p. 13). Instead of using the prison's internal
grievance procedure, Morgan submitted them as FOIA requests.
Id. As a result, the Grievance Office indicates that
it did not receive or respond to the grievances. Id.
Court cannot provide plaintiff with the relief he now seeks.
Mandamus is an extraordinary remedy. Burnett v.
Bowen, 830 F.2d 731, 739 (7th Cir. 1987). It is only
appropriate under limited circumstances. Id. In the
absence of proper jurisdiction, the Court lacks power to
grant any relief at all.
writ of mandamus has been abolished. See Fed. R.
Civ. P. 81(b). However, two federal statutes are typically
invoked to obtain mandamus relief, i.e., 28 U.S.C.
§ 1361 and 28 U.S.C. § 1651. Morgan referred to
neither in his petition.
case was opened under § 1361, which grants district
courts “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 plaintiff.” 28 U.S.C. § 1361. In the petition,
Morgan does not pursue relief against an “officer or
employee of the United States or any agency thereof.”
Id. He pursues mandamus relief against two state
officials under Illinois law. (Docs. 1, 1-1). Federal courts
have no authority to grant mandamus relief against state
officials. Harrell v. Unknown Party, No.
14-cv-00752-MJR (S.D. Ill. July 22, 2014); Robinson v.
Illinois, 752 F.Supp. 248, 248-49 (N.D. Ill. 1990)
(citing 28 U.S.C. § 1361) (“Federal courts have no