The trial court held a hearing on the status of the discovery of this case. Plaintiffs stated that as of that date, the defendant had still not produced all of the requested documents.
Defendant’s counsel stated that his client was in good faith compliance with the spirit of discovery. He complained that most of the documents which plaintiffs wanted had already been shown. He reassured the court he would make anything else available if needed.
Plaintiffs’ counsel advised the court that documents still had not been produced. He sent a letter to the defendant’s attorney.
Defendant has broken oral promises made to this court. Defendant has delayed these proceedings.
The trial court ruled that the defendant had violated its discovery orders and that discovery was still incomplete.
Therefore, it struck the defendant’s pleadings and the counterclaim. It entered a default judgment for the plaintiff. Defendant appealed.
The Appellate Court disagreed with both of the defendant’s alternate theories. Under supreme court rules, the trial court has broad powers to supervise the discovery process. Supreme Court Rule 219(c) provides:
‘If a party unreasonably refuses to comply with any provision of the rules of this court. Or fails to comply with any order entered under these rules. The court, on motion, may enter, in addition to remedies elsewhere specifically provided, such orders as are just. Including, among others, the following:
(v) that, as to claims or defenses asserted in any pleading to which that issue is material, a judgment by default be entered against the offending party or that his action be dismissed with or without prejudice; or
(vi) that any portion of his pleadings relating to that issue be stricken and, if thereby made appropriate, judgment be entered as to that issue.”
Lavaja v. Carter, 153 Ill.App.3d 317
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