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  1. #1
    chuchi12 is offline Junior Member
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    Question Interrogatory questions

    Illinois

    I am not an attorney, I am representing myself in a small claims case. I have received interrogatory questions from the defendant. Can I prepare and send interrogatory questions for the defendant myself? Do I have to first file paperwork in court, or should I just do it after I receive a response to my question? Do I have to enter the answers in court, or if they are not relevant to the case should I forget all about it?



    Thanks!
    -G
  2. #2
    HappyWanderer is offline Member
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    Under the rules at Part I (Small Claims):
    Rule 287. Depositions, Discovery and Motions

    (a) No depositions shall be taken or interrogatories or other discovery proceeding or requests to admit be used prior to trial in small claims except by leave of court.

    (b) Motions. Except as provided in sections 2--619 and 2--1001 of the Code of Civil Procedure, no motion shall be filed in small claims cases, without prior leave of court.


    Amended June 12, 1987, effective August 1, 1987; amended April 1, 1992, effective August 1, 1992.


    Committee Comments

    Paragraph (a) is substantially paragraph G of former Rule 9--1, effective January 1, 1964. The restriction on discovery proceedings obviously does not apply to interrogatories in garnishment or to supplementary proceedings under Rule 277. Amended in 1992 to provide that a request to admit under Rule 216 is not to be used in small claims cases, except upon leave of court.

    Paragraph (b) was added in August of 1987. The basic purposes of the Supreme Court Rules applicable to small claims cases are to simplify procedures and reduce the cost of litigation. In keeping with these objectives, motions in such cases should only be permitted to the extent that the motion may be dispositive of the claim and to the extent that the trial judge, in his discretion, may allow in the interests of justice.
    See:
    [url]http://www.state.il.us/court/supremecourt/rules/Art_II/ArtII.htm#213[/url]
  3. #3
    chuchi12 is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by HappyWanderer View Post
    Under the rules at Part I (Small Claims):


    See:
    [url]http://www.state.il.us/court/supremecourt/rules/Art_II/ArtII.htm#213[/url]
    Thank you very much for your response, but I don't really understand what this means.

    A contractor left his job unfinished in my home, and I tried to be refunded the 2,000 he received as an advanced payment for the job. I do not have an attorney, but the defendant has one. He is trying to drag this case on as much as possible. The judge allowed him to send us interrogatory questions, and I was wondering if we can do the same.

    Urbana, IL

    Thanks!!
    -G
  4. #4
    chuchi12 is offline Junior Member
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    bump, is anybody there?
  5. #5
    Proserpina is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by chuchi12 View Post
    bump, is anybody there?
    Um..please be patient? We're all volunteers here...many with families and other stuff going on
  6. #6
    cyjeff is offline Senior Member
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    The first thing it means is that you don't answer any questions from the other side... unless a court specifically demands you do so.
  7. #7
    HappyWanderer is offline Member
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    Quite frankly, unless a person is an attorney, in your state, who is willing to give legal advice, without facts, or compensation, no one can really answer "what it means".

    I'd tend towards cyjeff, but would ask the judge before sending counter interrogatories:

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    Last edited by HappyWanderer; 01-20-2010 at 10:27 PM.
  8. #8
    latigo is offline Senior Member
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    Quite frankly, unless a person is an attorney, in your state, who is willing to give legal advice, without facts, or compensation, no one can really answer "what it means".
    That particular Rule 287 of the Illinois Supreme Court Rules means that pre-trial discovery in small claims is conditioned upon the prior approval of the small claims court. “Leave of court” thus means “permission of the court” granted upon a showing of special need or good cause.

    “Requests to admit” as used in the Rule is a reference to a common form of pretrial discovery known as “Requests for Admission” in which the opponent is asked to either admit or deny (usually) a series of composed statements of the factual issues in the case. Generally for the purposes of narrowing the disputed issues and saving time in trial preparation and trial. If neither denied or admitted, they are deemed admitted.

    Here, because prior permission is required it seems reasonable to assume that the defendant received that permission before submitting the discovery requests.

    And inasmuch as attorneys are permitted to practice in Illinois small claims case, it is very likely that the defendant has employed counsel who prepared the discovery requests.

    Also, it is deemed most irresponsible for anyone to suggest that the OP ignore the defendant’s discovery and thus be subjected to a host of court sanctions, including, among other unpleasant orders, having his or her complaint dismissed with prejudice and assessed the defendant’s court costs and possibly the defendant’s attorney fees in seeking such sanctions.

    If the OP wishes to submit discovery to the defendant, then he or she should avail under Rule 287 and make a similar request to the court.

    Now whether the OP is capable doing that and preparing and submitting discovery material in the form and within the directives of applicable Court Rules is another issue. But I don’t think it unlikely.

    Plus I think Illinois’ Rule 287, and permitting lawyers to practice in small claims, defeats the very purpose of small case litigation as generally understood to be designed to provide a less formal and less expensive adversarial setting.
    Last edited by m martin; 01-21-2010 at 11:33 AM.
  9. #9
    latigo is offline Senior Member
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    "I don't think it likely". Pardon the double negative.
  10. #10
    HappyWanderer is offline Member
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    Here, because prior permission is required it seems reasonable to assume that the defendant received that permission before submitting the discovery requests.
    Unless the defendant is also pro per and thought they could send out the interrogatories. Discovery in small claims is not going to flow through the court. We'd probably want to know the facts before reasonably assuming anything.

    And inasmuch as attorneys are permitted to practice in Illinois small claims case, it is very likely that the defendant has employed counsel who prepared the discovery requests.
    OP, was the discovery sent/signed by an attorney? What were the questions about?

    A reason I think it not as likely an attorney correctly promulgated the rogs is that "leave of the court" will require someone to talk to or ask the court (perhaps through a motion) something. I suspect the OP would need to be notified by the court of any order it makes in such a matter in the first place and would probably have some type of notification of the request in the second. The term ex parte comes to mind. While leave may be allowed without some notification at least or some ability to challenge the request at best, it seems unlikely.

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