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Athans v. Williams

February 15, 2002

GEORGE C. ATHANS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
G. JOSH WILLIAMS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of McHenry County. No. 99-SC-1693 Honorable Michael T. Caldwell, Judge, Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice McLAREN

Released for publication March 22, 2002.

GEORGE C. ATHANS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
G. JOSH WILLIAMS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.

Appeal from the Circuit Court of McHenry County. No. 99-SC-1693 Honorable Michael T. Caldwell, Judge, Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice McLAREN

PUBLISHED

 Defendant, G. Josh Williams, appeals (1) the trial court's order barring him from testifying as a witness as a sanction pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 219 (166 Ill. 2d R. 219) and (2) the resultant judgment entered against him in the amount of $4,932.83 plus costs. We reverse and remand.

On September 15, 1999, plaintiff, George C. Athans, filed a small claims complaint seeking repayment on a loan to defendant in the amount of $4,932.83. Since the complaint was filed in small claims, it contains no information concerning the nature of the debt. From the information that can be gleaned from the record, it appears that plaintiff employed defendant and that the debt at issue concerned sums of money plaintiff allegedly paid to defendant in three separate transactions. On November 29, 1999, the parties were granted leave to conduct discovery pursuant to Supreme Court Rules 213 and 214 (177 Ill. 2d R. 213; 166 Ill. 2d R. 214).

On March 10, 2000, defendant answered an interrogatory posed by plaintiff, among others, as follows:

"Pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 213(f), provide the name and address of each witness who will testify at trial and state the subject of each witness' testimony.

ANSWER: Josh Williams."

Defendant also provided plaintiff with 69 pages of information in response to a request to produce documents.

The case proceeded to trial on August 11, 2000. There is no transcript of the proceeding. Nevertheless, it appears from the record that plaintiff testified in his case in chief. When defendant took the stand in his case in chief, plaintiff moved to bar him from testifying because the subject matter of his testimony was not provided in his answer to the interrogatory cited above. The trial court entered an order barring defendant from testifying. Defendant had no other witnesses, and the trial court entered judgment in favor of plaintiff in the amount of $4,932.83 plus costs. Defendant appeals the trial court's order barring him from testifying as a witness and the judgment entered against him in the amount of $4,932.83.

Defendant first contends that the trial court abused its discretion by barring him from testifying at trial as a sanction pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 219 for his alleged failure to disclose the subject matter of his testimony as requested in plaintiff's Rule ...


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