United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Springfield Division
JOHN G. GILBERT, Plaintiff,
R.L. JOHNSON, individually and as Clerk of Court, Brown County Court, Illinois; MRS. JOHN DOE, Deputy Clerk; and JOHN DOE, Executive Administrator of Court Operations, Defendants.
MERIT REVIEW OPINION
MYERSCOUGH UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
filed this case pro se from the Western Illinois Correctional
Center. The case is before the Court for a merit review
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. This statute requires the
Court to review a complaint filed by a prisoner to identify
the cognizable claims and to dismiss part or all of the
complaint if no claim is stated. Because the Court lacks
jurisdiction to provide Plaintiff the mandamus relief he
seeks, Plaintiff's complaint is dismissed without
reviewing the complaint, the Court accepts the factual
allegations as true, liberally construing them in
Plaintiff's favor. Turley v. Rednour, 729 F.3d
645, 649 (7th Cir. 2013). However, conclusory statements and
labels are insufficient. Enough facts must be provided to
"'state a claim for relief that is plausible on its
face.'" Alexander v. U.S., 721 F.3d 418,
422 (7th Cir. 2013)(quoted cite omitted).
April 13, 2018, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Leave to File
Petition of Mandamus (d/e 1), an Application for Waiver of
Court Fees (d/e 2), a Motion for Interim Fee Awards for Trust
Account Debt (d/e 4), and a Motion to Stay All Proceedings
(d/e 5). In the Motion for Leave, Plaintiff alleges that he
sent documents to the Brown County Circuit Clerk for filing
in case number 2017-MR-23. He included extra copies of the
documents and asked that the copies be file-stamped and
returned to Plaintiff. Plaintiff asserts that the circuit
clerk has refused to send him copies of his filings, despite
repeated requests. Plaintiff also appears to allege that the
circuit clerk is not filing his documents on the date
received. Plaintiff alleges that the circuit clerk has a duty
to date-stamp filings upon receipt and return copies to
Plaintiff pursuant to state statute or the Illinois
includes as an exhibit a state court order (d/e 1, page 49 of
74) dated March 21, 2018. The order states that, due to the
number of documents Plaintiff is filing in the state court,
the clerk need only file stamp the outside of the envelopes
received and number the envelopes. The court will then review
the contents of each envelope and issue rulings as
appropriate. Plaintiff also attaches the state court docket
sheet, which contains notations that the clerk returned
file-stamped copies of certain documents to Plaintiff,
although Plaintiff has a handwritten notation that he did not
receive them. See, e.g., (d/e 1, page 56 of
requests this Court immediately order the circuit clerk to
file-stamp, record, and docket by name all documents and
return copies of all file-stamped documents with hearing
dates and an updated docket to Plaintiff. Plaintiff asserts
that, if he is denied his copies, he will continue to suffer
severe hardship and prejudice and the denial of due process,
equal protection, and access to the court.
Court lacks jurisdiction to provide Plaintiff the mandamus
relief he seeks. Federal district courts have original
jurisdiction to issue writs 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. The defendants in this case are not
officers or employees of the United States. In addition,
while the All Writs Act authorizes federal courts to
“issue all writs necessary or appropriate in aid of
their respective jurisdictions and agreeable to the usages
and principles of law, ” the All Writs Act does not
itself create jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. § 1651(a);
Hill v. Baxter Healthcare Corp., 405 F.3d 572, 577
(7th Cir. 2005). Simply put, this Court lacks mandamus
jurisdiction to compel action by state officials. See In
re Campbell, 264 F.3d 730, 731 (7th Cir. 2001) (finding
that, generally, a federal court does not have power under
the All Writs Act to “issue mandamus to a state
judicial officer to control or interfere with state court
litigation”); Davis v. Spoden, No.
09-CV-002-BBC, 2009 WL 483180, at *1 (W.D. Wis. Feb. 25,
2009) (“Federal district courts lack jurisdiction to
issue a writ of mandamus to direct state courts in the
performance of their duties.”).
IS THEREFORE ORDERED:
Plaintiff's complaint is dismissed without prejudice for
lack of subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A. Because amendment would be futile, the Clerk is
DIRECTED to enter judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 58 and close the case.
pending Motion for Interim Fee Award (d/e 4) and the Motion
to Stay All Proceedings (d/e 5) are DENIED AS MOOT.
If not already done, the clerk is directed to grant
Plaintiff's petition to proceed in forma pauperis for the
purpose of allowing Plaintiff to pay the filing fee in
installments. Plaintiff must still pay the full
filing fee of $350 even though his case has been dismissed.
The agency having custody of Plaintiff shall continue to make
monthly payments to the Clerk of Court.
Plaintiff wishes to appeal this dismissal, he must file a
notice of appeal with this Court within 30 days of the entry
of judgment. Fed. R. App. P. 4(a). A motion for leave to
appeal in forma pauperis should set forth the issues
Plaintiff plans to present on appeal. See Fed. R. App. P.
24(a)(1)(C). If Plaintiff does choose to appeal, ...