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Calabrese v. Benitez

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Third District

January 16, 2015

AMANDA CALABRESE, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
PABLO LOPEZ BENITEZ, Defendant-Appellant

Appeal from the Circuit Court of the 12th Judicial Circuit, Will County, Illinois. Circuit No. 11-L-491. Honorable Susan T. O'Leary, Judge, Presiding.

Affirmed.

SYLLABUS

On appeal from a verdict for plaintiff in an action for the injuries she suffered when defendant reversed his car without looking back and struck her, a pedestrian, the verdict for plaintiff was affirmed over defendant's contentions that the trial court erred in allowing plaintiff to use undisclosed X-ray films during the trial, denying defendant's request to depose plaintiff's chiropractor and in denying his motion for a new trial based on the trial court's bias, where defendant waived the issues and where the trial judge's remarks cited by defendant as evidence of bias did not display any favoritism, and they were made after the trial, basically in an attempt to educate a young trial counsel on the realities of trial practice.

Jamie Shimer (argued), of Fabrizio, Hanson, Peyla & Kawinski, P.C., of Joliet, for appellant.

Stephen M. Brandenburg (argued), of Radogno, Cameli & Hoag, P.C., of Chicago, for appellee.

JUSTICE SCHMIDT delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Presiding Justice McDade and Justice Holdridge concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

SCHMIDT, JUSTICE

Page 1185

[¶1] A Will County jury awarded plaintiff, Amanda Calabrese, $47,899, after finding that defendant, Pablo Lopez Benitez, negligently operated his vehicle and injured plaintiff. Prior to trial, the court denied defendant's motion for leave of court to depose plaintiff's expert witness. At trial, the court admitted X-ray films into evidence without objection. Defendant had not viewed the X-ray films and reports prior to trial. Defendant filed a posttrial motion, alleging only that the court erred by admitting X-ray films at trial; the court denied defendant's motion.

[¶2] Defendant appeals, claiming the trial court erred by: (1) allowing plaintiff to utilize X-ray films during trial; and (2) denying defendant's request to depose plaintiff's treating chiropractor prior to trial. Defendant also argues that he is entitled to a new trial due to the trial court's bias. For the following reasons, we affirm.

[¶3] BACKGROUND

[¶4] Plaintiff filed a complaint alleging defendant caused her injuries while negligently driving his automobile. Prior to trial, defendant served plaintiff with written discovery, including interrogatories pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 213 (eff. Jan. 1, 2007) and requests for production pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 214 (eff. Jan. 1, 1996). Defendant's Rule 213(f) interrogatories included the following:

" 5. Did any witnesses at any time prepare any notes, memoranda, summaries or other writings in connection with this matter? If so, (a) identify each such writing; and (b) pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 214, produce legible copies of all such writings.
***
7. Identify each treating physician or health care provider known to plaintiff, plaintiff's attorney, or anyone acting on behalf of the plaintiff, who has stated an opinion, directly or indirectly, expressly

Page 1186

or impliedly, favorable or unfavorable or neutral, regarding the conduct of any plaintiff, the cause of plaintiff's alleged injuries and/or the prognosis of life expectancy of the person alleged to have been injured. State the opinion of each, dates of treatment and location of treatment."

Defendant served plaintiff with additional Rule 213 interrogatories, including:

" 5. With regard to your injuries, state: (c) the name and address of each person and/or laboratory taking any x-ray, MRI and/or other ...

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