Illinois Supreme Court Considering Allowing Discovery Depositions at Trials

I previously reported on the Illinois practice of differentiating between "discovery depositions" and "evidence depositions, and the unfortunate consequences that sometimes result -- as in the case of Berry v. American Standard, Inc., 382 Ill. App.3d 895 (2008). Motivated by the situation discussed in Berry and the strict result mandated under the current version of the applicable rule, the Illinois Supreme Court Rules Committee has proposed an amendment to Supreme Court Rule 212 to allow the use of a discovery deposition transcript as trial evidence in a very limited set of circumstances. The Committee's comments for the proposal state:

"The Committee believes that a trial court should have the discretion under Rule 212(a)(5) to permit the use of a party’s discovery deposition at trial. The current version of the Rule is absolute in its prohibition against the use of a party’s discovery deposition at trial. It appears, however, that there may be rare, but compelling circumstances under which a party’s discovery deposition should be permitted to be used. In the Committee’s view, Berry presents such circumstances. Given that in most cases, counsel will have the opportunity to preserve a party’s testimony via an evidence deposition, it is expected that the circumstances that would justify use of a discovery deposition would be extremely limited."

Click here for the proposed rules change. The Rules Committee is holding public hearings on the proposal in Chicago on July 28, 2010.