Motion for Discovery Sanctions, Illinois Circuit Court–At A Glance

Use this “At A Glance Guide” to learn the statewide rules of civil procedure (Illinois Compiled Statutes and Illinois Supreme Court Rules) applicable to bringing a motion for discovery sanctions in Illinois Circuit Court. For more detailed information, including local rules, please see the Illinois Circuit Court SmartRules Guides: Motion for Discovery Sanctions, Opposition to Motion for Discovery Sanctions and Reply in Support of Motion for Discovery Sanctions.

Motion for Discovery Sanctions Rules

The parties must make reasonable efforts to facilitate the discovery process and to resolve differences without the assistance of the Court.

Every motion “with respect to discovery” must incorporate a statement by counsel responsible for trial of the case that:

(1) despite personal consultation with opposing counsel and reasonable efforts to resolve the dispute, counsel have been unable to reach accord, or

(2) opposing counsel has made him or herself unavailable or has acted unreasonably.

IL Supreme Court R. 201(k).

 Illinois Supreme Court Rule 219 provides extensive requirements for the imposition of sanctions for discovery misconduct. IL Supreme Court R. 219.

If the court finds that the refusal or failure (to respond or otherwise comply with discovery requests) was without substantial justification, the court shall require the offending party or deponent, or the party whose attorney advised the conduct complained of, or either of them, to pay to the aggrieved party the amount of the reasonable expenses incurred in obtaining the order, including reasonable attorney’s fees. If the motion is denied and the court finds that the motion was made without substantial justification, the court shall require the moving party to pay to the refusing party the amount of the reasonable expenses incurred in opposing the motion, including reasonable attorney’s fees. IL Supreme Court R. 219(a). 

If the party presenting requests for admission ultimately proves the genuineness of a fact which was sworn to as denied by the opposing party in his or her response to requests for admission, the requesting party may seek an order requiring the other party to pay “the reasonable expenses incurred in making the proof, including reasonable attorney’s fees.” The court shall issue the order unless the court finds that “there were good reasons for the denial or that the admissions sought were of no substantial importance.” IL Supreme Court R. 219(b).

If any party fails to comply with discovery rules, the court may, in addition to taking other appropriate action, impose on (1) the offending party, (2) that party’s attorney, or (3) both, appropriate sanctions, which may include an order to pay the opposing party reasonable expenses and attorneys fees arising out of the misconduct. If the misconduct was willful, a monetary penalty may also be imposed. IL Supreme Court R. 219(c).

In addition to other remedies, if the court determines that a party has failed to comply with any applicable order or rule the court may order:

(i) that further proceedings be stayed until the order or rule is complied with; IL Supreme Court R. 219(c)(i).

(ii) that the offending party be debarred from filing any other pleading relating to any issue to which the refusal or failure relates; IL Supreme Court R. 219(c)(ii).

(iii) that the offending party be debarred from maintaining any particular claim, counterclaim, third-party complaint, or defense relating to that issue; IL Supreme Court R. 219(c)(iii).

(iv) that a witness be barred from testifying concerning that issue; IL Supreme Court R. 219(c)(iv).

(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 the offending party’s action be dismissed without prejudice; IL Supreme Court R. 219(c)(v).

(vi) that any portion of the offending party’s pleadings relating to that issue be stricken and, if thereby made appropriate, judgment be entered as to that issue; IL Supreme Court R. 219(c)(vi). or

(vii) that in cases where a money judgment is entered against a party subject to sanctions under this paragraph, order the offending party to pay interest at the rate provided by law for judgments for any period of pretrial delay attributable to the offending party’s conduct. IL Supreme Court R. 219(c)(vii).

Notwithstanding the entry of judgment or a dismissal of the action, the court retains jurisdiction, either on motion or its own discretion, to enforce orders imposing monetary sanctions, including those on motions which were pending at the time of the judgment or dismissal. IL Supreme Court R. 219(c).

The court may order that information obtained through abuse of discovery procedures be suppressed. If a party wilfully obtains or attempts to obtain information by an improper discovery method, wilfully obtains or attempts to obtain information to which that party is not entitled, or otherwise abuses these discovery rules, the court may enter any order provided for in paragraph (c) of this rule. IL Supreme Court R. 219(d).

Simplified discovery proceedings, including Mandatory arbitration proceedings and actions involving less than $50,000 in damages, are still subject to the discovery sanctions provisions of Rule 219(c). IL Supreme Court R. 222(i).

Proceedings by and against respondents in discovery are subject to the discovery sanctions provisions of Rule 219(c). IL Supreme Court R. 224(b).

If a party serves notice of a deposition and then fails to attend or proceed with the deposition, any party who attended the deposition pursuant to the notice may move the court for an order requiring the opposing party to pay the reasonable costs incurred in attendance, including reasonable attorney’s fees. IL Supreme Court R. 209(a).

If a party serves notice that a deposition will be taken and then fails to compel the appearance of the deponent by notice or subpoena, as appropriate, any party who attended the deposition pursuant to the notice may move the court for an order requiring the opposing party to pay the reasonable costs incurred in attendance, including reasonable attorney’s fees. IL Supreme Court R. 209(b).

The authorities cited in this At A Glance Guide are current as of the publication date. For authorities updated in real time, please see the SmartRules Guide for the litigation document you are drafting.

1 thought on “Motion for Discovery Sanctions, Illinois Circuit Court–At A Glance”

  1. If the client has two or more attorneys, in a post-decree matter, can either attorney file 219 a Motion to Compel, with appropriate recitation of discovery requests made, refused and the 201k letters? One attorney was responsible for the discovery requests/communications and is now occupied in another jurisdiction on a separate matter. Co-counsel refuses to appear as counsel in the Motion to Compel because (1) he was not representing the client at the time of the discovery requests/refusals, and (2) insists he must have personal knowledge (as opposed to having the complete case file with all communications and requests)of which to attest in the Motion to Compel. Is this reluctance to participate in the M to C, as odd as it seems? Thank you!

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