The Rules Committee of the Illinois State Supreme Court is asking the public for its opinion on three proposals for changes to the civil discovery process.

The committee will host a public hearing July 28, according to a press release.

The hearing will take place in Chicago at 10 a.m. at 160 N. LaSalle Street, Room C-500.

The first of the three proposals would allow a party's discovery deposition to be used as trial evidence in "extremely limited" situations. That use would also be at the discretion of the presiding judge.

The first proposal would amend Rule 212 if the change is adopted. The proposal comes as a result of the Fifth Appellate District opinion in Berry v. American Standard, Inc., 382 Ill. App.3d 895 (2008).

The opinion indicated that Rule 212 is currently absolute in its prohibition of the use of discovery depositions at trial and that there may be circumstances where the use of the deposition could be appropriate.

The Committee on Discovery Procedures of the Illinois Judicial Conference examined the Berry opinion and proposed the change.
The second proposal is an amendment to Rule 206, the rule dealing with by what means depositions are taken.

Under the current Rule 206, the agreement of the parties in a civil case is required before a deposition may be taken by remote electronic means such as by phone.

The amendment would allow any party to select the means of the deposition by stating in the notice of deposition the specific electronic means that would be used.

The third proposal relates to Rule 204.

The proposal would amend the rule to allow any attorney licensed in Illinois to issue subpoenas in pending civil cases expect for discovery depositions given by non-party physicians.

Currently only the court clerk may issue the subpoenas.

None of the proposals will take effect unless approved by the state Supreme Court.

Justice Thomas L. Kilbride is the Supreme Court liaison to the Rules Committee, and Chicago attorney John B. Simon is chair of the Rules Committee.

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