Legal Memorandum: Awarding sanctions for a violation of the discover rule

Issue: Under Illinois law, when, in its discretion, may a trial court properly award sanctions against a party for violation of a discovery rule?

Area of Law: Litigation Practice & Procedure, Litigation Practice and Procedure
Keywords: ; Sanction; Violation; Discovery; Rule; Pretrial; Dismiss
Jurisdiction: Illinois
Cited Cases: None
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 03/01/2016

Rule 219(c) empowers the trial court to impose sanctions on a party who violates discovery rules. Shimanovsky v. General Motors Corp., 181 Ill.2d 112, 120 (1998). Only a clear abuse of discretion justifies reversal of the trial court’s decision on a motion for discovery sanctions. Shimanovsky, 181 Ill.2d at 120. In Shimanovsky, our supreme court held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it dismissed a lawsuit as a sanction against the plaintiffs for destructive testing of evidence essential to the defense.  However, "Sanctions *** should be imposed to promote discovery, not to punish the noncomplying party. [Citation.] Thus the entry of a default or dismissal under Rule 219(c) should be employed as a last resort." Humboldt-Armitage Corp. v. Illinois Fair Plan Ass’n , 86 Ill.App.3d 888, 890-91 (1980).

Zahran v. Sud, 2016.IL.142397-U (Ill. App. Dist. 1 2016) (not precedential).

Date: March 1, 2016