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Monier v. Chamberlain

OPINION FILED SEPTEMBER 23, 1966.

ROGER L. MONIER, APPELLEE,

v.

VERNON CHAMBERLAIN. — (EUGENE H. RENNICK, JR., ET AL., APPELLANTS.)



APPEAL from the Appellate Court for the Third District; heard in that court on appeal from the Circuit Court of Madison County; the Hon. EDWARD E. HAUGENS, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE UNDERWOOD DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

This action was originally brought by plaintiff, Roger Monier, to recover damages for personal injuries arising out of an automobile accident allegedly caused by the negligent operation of a motor vehicle by defendant, Vernon Chamberlain. Defendant's answer to the complaint was filed by Eugene H. Rennick, Jr., attorney for Chamberlain retained by Country Mutual Insurance Company, Chamberlain's liability insurer, and also the liability insurer of the plaintiff.

Subsequently, two motions supported by affidavit were filed by plaintiff requesting that Chamberlain and Country Mutual be ordered to produce various documents, reports, memoranda and statements for plaintiff's inspection and copying. An answer in opposition to the motions was filed, and after a hearing thereon, an order was entered directing production of the requested material. Following their refusal to comply, attorney Rennick and Country Mutual were found to be in contempt of court and each fined $50.

Appellants Rennick and Country Mutual then sought direct review in this court of the contempt order, but since no proper jurisdictional basis appeared, the cause was transferred to the Appellate Court for the Third Judicial District. Monier v. Chamberlain, 31 Ill.2d 400.

The appellate court (66 Ill. App.2d 472) upheld the production order in part and reversed in part, and the cause was remanded to the circuit court with directions to modify the production order accordingly, and allow appellants to purge themselves of contempt by compliance therewith. The appellate court then granted a certificate of importance conferring jurisdiction upon this court. See our Rule 32(2), Ill. Rev. Stat. 1965, chap. 110, par. 101.32(2).

The production order entered by the circuit court under our Rule 17 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1965, chap. 110, par. 101.17) requires the appellants to produce the following materials:

"1. A copy and contents of the automobile insurance policy No. A 434284 in force between the Country Mutual Insurance Company and the Defendant, Vernon Chamberlain, on March 20, 1960.

"2. All medical reports, hospital records, letters of correspondence from or to all physicians, surgeons, psychologists, psychiatrists, hospitals, clinics, or other medical personnel concerning the health, physical and mental condition of Roger L. Monier from March 20, 1960, up to the date of employment of counsel for the Defendant.

"3. All statements made by the Plaintiff or members of his family relative to the subject of litigation, whether signed or unsigned.

"4. All memoranda made by personnel of the Country Mutual Insurance Company of conversations with the Plaintiff and members of his family relative to the matter of litigation.

"5. All written statements of witnesses, whether signed or unsigned, obtained by agents, employees or other personnel of the Country Mutual Insurance Company obtained prior to the employment of Eugene Rennick, Attorney at Law, Toulon, Illinois, or Robt. A. Barnes, Attorney at Law, Lacon, Illinois, attorneys for the Defendant in the cause.

"6. All reports, photographs and statements obtained by agents, employees, investigators, adjusters or other personnel of the Country Mutual Insurance Company relative to or growing out of the transaction complained of on March 20, 1960, which were obtained prior to the employment of Eugene Rennick, Attorney at Law, Toulon, Illinois, and Robert A. Barnes, Attorney at Law, Lacon, Illinois, Attorneys for the Defendant in this cause.

"7. All medical reports or memoranda concerning the health and physical or mental condition of the Plaintiff, Roger L. Monier, as it existed prior to the occurrence complained of."

The insurance policy was produced and Country Mutual filed a sworn response indicating that it did not possess a statement of the plaintiff. Appellants refused to produce the remaining materials, contending that the order does not specify the materials requested with sufficient particularity and that, in any event, much of the material sought is exempted from disclosure under our Rule 19-5(1) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1965, chap. 110, par. 101.19-5(1)). The appellate court was of the opinion that paragraph 5 lacked the specificity required by Rule 17 and reversed the trial court on that point, but upheld the remainder of the circuit ...


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