Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Sixth Division
from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 17 CH 15753
Honorable Anna H. Demacopoulos, Judge Presiding.
Attorneys for Appellant: Cass T. Casper, of Talon Law, LLC,
of Chicago, for appellant.
Attorneys for Appellee: Gretchen Harris Sperry, Kimberly A.
Jansen, Robert T. Shannon, James M. Lydon, and Carson R.
Griffis, of Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP, of Chicago, for
appellee Thomas J. Dart.
Kimberly M. Foxx, State's Attorney, of Chicago (Lyle K.
Henretty and Jay Rahman, Assistant State's Attorneys, of
counsel), for other appellees.
JUSTICE CUNNINGHAM delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Justices Connors and Harris concurred in the
judgment and opinion.
1 In his complaint for declaratory, mandamus,
injuctive and other relief, plaintiff-appellant Jacob
Pietryla alleged that his termination by defendant-appellee
Cook County Sheriffs Merit Board (Board) was void where the
Board was improperly constituted. The circuit court of Cook
County dismissed his first amended complaint pursuant to
section 2-619 of the Code of Civil Procedure (735 ILCS
5/2-619 (West 2016)) on the basis that the de facto
officer doctrine applied to bar his claims. Pietryla appeals,
and for the reasons that follow, we affirm the judgment of
the circuit court of Cook County.
3 Following a hearing in February 2012, the Board terminated
Pietryla's employment as a corrections officer based on
Pietryla's plea of guilty to the charge of battery.
Pietryla appealed his termination to the circuit court
pursuant to the Administrative Review Law (id.
§ 3-104). On February 7, 2013, the circuit court
affirmed the Board's decision. Pietryla did not appeal to
4 Nearly five years later, on November 30, 2017, Pietryla
filed a complaint in the circuit court of Cook County seeking
"declaratory, injuctive, mandamus, and other relief,
including reinstatement and back pay." His first amended
complaint, at issue here, was filed on May 18, 2018, against
defendants Thomas Dart, in his official capacity as the
sheriff of Cook County, the Board, and Cook County. In that
complaint, Pietryla alleged the following defects in the
Board: (i) all Board members were appointed to less than
six-year terms, (ii) some Board members had nonstaggered
terms, i.e., their terms ended at the same time;
(iii) the Board's chairperson and secretary had held
their positions for longer than two years, and (iv) Board
member Richard Hogan continued to sit on the board after his
term expired in 2010 despite not being reappointed. According
to Pietryla, these defects rendered the Board
"improperly constituted," and therefore, its
decision to terminate him was "void from
5 Defendants moved to dismiss Pietryla's first amended
complaint based, in relevant part, on operation of the de
facto officer doctrine. The circuit court, after hearing
argument, agreed that the doctrine was applicable and granted
defendants' motion to dismiss with prejudice in a written
order on August 28, 2018.
6 Pietryla moved to reconsider, which the court denied
without additional briefing or argument in October 2018.
Pietryla timely appealed.
8 We note that we have jurisdiction to review this matter, as
Pietryla filed a timely notice of appeal following the denial
of his motion for reconsideration. Ill. S.Ct. ...