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Ohio: Mandamus Action Moot Where Relief Has Been Granted

On December 20, 2018, the Ohio Supreme Court affirmed the dismissal of a prisoner’s writ of mandamus against the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC). 

State prisoner William H. Evans, Jr. filed the mandamus petition against DRC director Gary Mohr. The petition sought relief in the form of the removal of “all traces” of a federal detainer that Evans alleged was erroneously placed in his prison record. Mohr moved to dismiss, arguing the DRC had already removed the detainer.

About a week after the dismissal motion was filed, Evans filed a motion for declaratory judgment under the mandamus case number seeking declaratory and monetary relief. The Court of Appeals dismissed the complaint as moot and denied Evans’ subsequent motions. The Ohio Supreme Court granted review.

The Court found there was no dispute that the DRC had granted the relief Evans sought, thus there was no case in controversy to compel an act under a mandamus action. It also noted that “courts of appeals lack original jurisdiction over claims for declaratory judgment.” Further, the appellate court had properly denied Evans’ summary judgment motion that sought monetary damages when he failed to request that relief in his mandamus complaint.

The judgment of the Court of Appeals was affirmed. See: Evans v. Mohr, 2018-Ohio-5089 (Ohio 2018); 2018 Ohio LEXIS 3005.

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Related legal case

Evans v. Mohr