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Balciunas v. Duff

OPINION FILED FEBRUARY 18, 1983.

RUTHIE L. BALCIUNAS, PLAINTIFF,

v.

BRIAN B. DUFF, JUDGE, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



Original proceeding for mandamus.

JUSTICE UNDERWOOD DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

This is an original action, in which we allowed Ruthie L. Balciunas (plaintiff) leave to file a complaint for the issuance of a writ of mandamus (87 Ill.2d R. 381). That complaint seeks to compel Brian B. Duff, a judge of the circuit court of Cook County, to expunge certain pretrial discovery orders entered in the case of Balciunas v. General Motors Corporation (GMC) et al. Plaintiff also seeks to have the matter reassigned to Walter B. Bieschke, also a judge of the circuit court of Cook County, for further hearings.

In the underlying litigation, plaintiff brought an action to recover damages for severe injuries that she sustained in 1978, while she was driving a 1971 Pontiac Firebird involved in a side-impact collision. During the course of discovery, plaintiff filed a notice to produce certain documents, photographs and motion pictures. GMC filed objections thereto, and a hearing was held in February 1981 before Judge Bieschke, one of the two judges then presiding in the motion section, law division, of the circuit court of Cook County. Following the hearing, at which there was apparently some discussion concerning a protective order, Judge Bieschke entered an order which, in relevant part, provided:

"7. Paragraph 7 of Plaintiff's Notice to Produce is hereby modified to read as follows, and defendant, GENERAL MOTORS shall produce: the complete crash test report (also known as the engineering report) including all photographs and motion pictures for all side impact crash tests from 1960 through April 2, 1978, inclusive for all GENERAL MOTORS CORPORATION Divisions, domestic and foreign, for all passenger automobiles only, including the:

a) Chevrolet, all models;

b) Pontiac, all models;

c) Buick, all models;

d) Cadillac, all models;

e) Oldsmobile, all models;

f) Opel of Germany, all models;

g) Vauxhall of England, all models;

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