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Szczeblewski v. Gossett

July 31, 2003

MARGARET SZCZEBLEWSKI AND JOSEPH MYERS, A MINOR, BY MARGARET SZCZEBLEWSKI, HIS MOTHER AND NEXT FRIEND, PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS,
v.
JEFFREY GOSSETT, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Perry County. No. 01-L-7 Honorable James W. Campanella, Judge, presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Donovan

UNPUBLISHED

This interlocutory appeal, pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 308 (155 Ill. 2d R. 308), involves three certified questions regarding the proper interpretation and application of Supreme Court Rule 216 (134 Ill. 2d R. 216). In particular, we are asked to determine:

1. Whether the causal connection to the occurrence, the reasonableness and necessity of the medical services, and the reasonableness of the cost of medical services are facts susceptible to admission or denial within the meaning of Supreme Court Rule 216.

2. Whether the knowledge of defendants' attorneys and insurers regarding the causal connection to the occurrence, the reasonableness and necessity of the medical services, and the reasonableness of the cost of medical services are facts imputable to defendants for purposes of Supreme Court Rule 216.

3. Whether a defendant responding to requests for the admission of facts as set forth above is required to seek to avail himself of the knowledge of his attorneys and/or insurers before making a claim of insufficient knowledge to admit or deny.

We answer question 1 in the affirmative and combine questions 2 and 3 into one inquiry and answer it in the affirmative.

Initially, we note that discovery orders are not appealable under Rule 308. People ex rel. Scott v. Silverstein, 87 Ill. 2d 167, 171, 429 N.E.2d 483, 485 (1981); Voss v. Lincoln Mall Management Co., 166 Ill. App. 3d 442, 452, 519 N.E.2d 1056, 1063 (1988). Nevertheless, a distinction exists between questions of law regarding the scope of discovery and questions regarding particular discovery. Questions of law are reviewable under Rule 308, whereas discovery orders are not. Bass v. Cincinnati, Inc., 180 Ill. App. 3d 1076, 1078, 536 N.E.2d 831, 832 (1989). The questions that which have been certified for our review are questions of law regarding the scope of discovery. We turn then to the questions certified for review.

Background

This case arises out of the claims of Margaret Szczeblewski and Joseph Myers against Jeffrey Gossett as a result of a rear-end collision on October 26, 2000. Plaintiffs' complaint was filed March 26, 2001. Defendant's answer, denying the existence of a collision, negligence on the part of the defendant, or injury to either plaintiff, was filed April 5, 2001. After discovery depositions of the parties, defendant's admission of liability was filed June 12, 2001. Medical records and bills pertaining to both plaintiffs were provided to the defense June 1, 2001, and thereafter, plaintiffs voluntarily provided to the defense authorizations for medical records. Plaintiffs' first and second requests for the admission of facts pertaining to medical services and bills were filed August 29, 2001.

Each plaintiff's request for the admission of facts had attached the medical providers' bills involved, and with the exception of differences in the date, amount, and identity of the service provider, each paragraph of the requests for the admission of facts was in the following form:

"a. That the attached bill dated October 26, 2000, in the amount of $501, from Marshall Browning Hospital, 900 North Washington, DuQuoin, Illinois, represents charges for services which were reasonable and necessary treatment for conditions occurring as a result of the occurrence which is the subject of the instant suit.

b. That the charges on the attached bill dated October 26, 2000, in the amount of $501, from Marshall Browning Hospital, are fair and ...


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