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09/05/96 NANCY BLOTT v. JOHN HANSON

September 5, 1996

NANCY BLOTT, PLAINTIFF,
v.
JOHN HANSON, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE (JESUS QUINTERO), DEFENDANT; PARRILLO, WEISS AND O'HALLORAN, APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Du Page County. No. 94--L--1325. Honorable Edward R. Duncan, Jr., Judge, Presiding.

Rehearing Denied October 9, 1996. Released for Publication October 9, 1996.

The Honorable Justice Rathje delivered the opinion of the court: Geiger and Bowman, JJ., concur.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Rathje

JUSTICE RATHJE delivered the opinion of the court:

The law firm of Parrillo, Weiss and O'Halloran (law firm) appeals from an order of the circuit court of Du Page County requiring the law firm and its client, Jesus Quintero, to pay $525 in attorney fees to the attorneys for Quintero's codefendant, John Hanson (Hanson), for failure to comply with discovery. The sole issue on appeal is whether the trial court abused its discretion in assessing the attorney fees against the law firm. No issue is raised as to whether Quintero should have been required to pay attorney fees.

On March 29, 1994, plaintiff, Nancy Blott, filed a complaint against Quintero and Hanson seeking damages for injuries she received while a passenger in an automobile driven by Hanson, which allegedly was struck by an automobile driven by Quintero. On November 30, 1994, the trial court entered an order vacating all defaults and granting leave to both Quintero and Hanson to file their pleadings and written discovery within 21 days. Written discovery was to be completed by January 18, 1995, and depositions were to be completed by March 29, 1995. The matter was continued for status until April 12, 1995.

On November 30, 1994, in addition to his answer, Hanson filed a counterclaim for contribution against Quintero. Also on November 30, 1994, Hanson filed a motion to produce, interrogatories to be answered by Quintero, and a notice of deposition for Quintero for February 13, 1995. According to the certificate of service, these had previously been sent to Quintero's attorneys on November 4, 1994. On December 21, 1994, Quintero filed his answers to the complaint and Hanson's counterclaim for contribution and a counterclaim for contribution from Hanson. Quintero's counterclaim was later stricken, and an amended counterclaim for contribution was filed.

At the April 12, 1995, status hearing, counsel for Hanson filed a motion for sanctions pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 219 (134 Ill. 2d R. 219) and advised the trial court that Quintero had not yet answered written discovery. The trial court entered an order requiring Quintero to answer written discovery by May 3, 1995.

On June 6, 1995, counsel for Hanson and counsel for Quintero appeared. Counsel for Hanson sought an order pursuant to Rule 219 striking Quintero's pleadings for failure to comply with written discovery. The following colloquy ensued:

"MR. PARRILLO [Quintero's counsel]: I would ask for one more opportunity to comply.

THE COURT: Why haven't you yet complied?

MR. PARRILLO: There is a language difficulty problem here with our client.

THE COURT: Did you contact him?

MR. PARRILLO: Yes.

THE COURT: In six months haven't you had an interpreter come in or a family member or a friend who could speak bilingual ...


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