The parties to a divorce owned a business. Each party had been ordered to disclose information about their business valuation expert, reports and financial information.  Husband disclosed his controlled expert witness more than 60 days before trial but failed to disclose the required opinions and report of the expert until just 4 days before trial.

This late disclosure was not caused by Husband’s bad faith or abusive discovery practices. Rather, the late disclosure was the result of Wife’s failure to provide Husband and his expert with necessary financial information that Wife had. The information included financial statements, general ledgers, and other financial information.

The husband did not receive the financial information until less than a month before trial.  This was more than a month after the discovery deadline had passed.  The trial court would not allow Husband’s expert to testify. The trial court would not grant Husband a continuance for his expert to prepare. This was a sanction against Husband for not disclosing all necessary information as ordered. Husband appealed.

The appellate court said that Husband should not have been penalized for the wife’s failure to comply with discovery. The court noted that the proper remedy would have been to have granted the husband’s motion to continue the trial and allow the wife time to depose his business valuation expert prior to the trial.

In re Marriage of Liszka, 2016 IL App (3d) 150238

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