IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF COOK COUNTY, ILLINOIS

COUNTY DEPARTMENT, LAW DIVISION

Brittany Rideaux,                                                       Plaintiff,                                                         vs.   Donald Winter,                   Defendant   No. 2018-L-1435   Judge Christopher E. Lawler  

DEFENDANT’S RESPONSE TO PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO COMPEL

            NOW COMES the Defendant, Donald Winter, pro se, and in response to the Motion to Compel Discovery, states as follows:

  1. Plaintiff filed discovery requests that are the subject of this response.
  2. Defendant provided sufficient response to the said requests. Besides, Defendant’s former attorney and Plaintiff’s attorney met and conferred. Accordingly, Defendant avers that Plaintiff’s allegations in Plaintiff’s Motion to compel should be taken with a “grain of salt”.
  3. Plaintiff’s requests call for a legal conclusion
  4. The line between an ultimate fact and legal conclusion is difficult to discern and depends to some extent upon the particular case. People ex rel. Fahner v. Carriage Way West, Inc., 88 Ill.2d 300, (1981) 430 N.E.2d 1005.
  5. Courts in Illinois have long held that discovery is to be “utilized to `illuminate the actual issues in the case'”. Owen v. Mann, 105 Ill. 2d 525, 530 (1985), quoting Sarver v. Barrett Ace Hardware, Inc., 63 Ill. 2d 454, 460 (1976)), as well as to “narrow the issues in order to expeditiously reach a disposition which fairly vindicates the rights of the parties”. Sander v. Dow Chemical Co., 166 Ill. 2d 48, 65 (1995).
  6. In the instant action, Defendant objects to the disclosure of interrogatories 4 and 5, which require Defendant to produce information whether, why, and how he touched Plaintiff. Defendant contends the said request amounts to legal question. Notably, Plaintiff’s request of the reason why Defendant allegedly committed the acts complained of seeks to impute legal liability on Defendant by requiring Defendant to admit liability.   
  7. Plaintiff’s requests amount to a fishing expedition
  8. It is proper for courts to prohibit discovery where its scope is “broad and not calculated to develop specific probative evidence,” Snoddy v. Teepak, Inc., 198 Ill. App. 3d 966, 556  N.E.2d 682, 684 (First Dist. 1990). In Snoddy, the court was confronted with a request to conduct broad ranging discovery when the issue before the court was narrow. The court found that the “discovery requests were merely a ‘fishing expedition,’ which would be conducted with the hope of finding something relevant.” Id.
  9. In the instant action, Plaintiff’s interrogatory No. 12 seeks Defendant to introduce the persons with whom he discussed Plaintiff’s allegations and surprisingly, to state when, where, and the contents of such communication, including who else was present.
  10. Defendant contends that such Plaintiff’s requests amounts to a fishing expedition because the requested information is overly broad. It follows; Plaintiff seeks the information in such broad manner, in the hope of finding something relevant for Plaintiff’s allegations. 
  11. Plaintiff requests information that is irrelevant and have no connection with the case
  12. Black’s Law Dictionary defines “discovery” as “[c]ompulsory disclosure, at a party’s request, of information that relates to the litigation.” Black’s Law Dictionary 498 (8th ed. 2004). (Emphasis added).
  13. “Discovery should be denied absent sufficient evidence that the requested discovery is relevant.”  Fabiano v. City of Palos Hills, 336 Ill. App. 3d 635, 784 N.E.2d 258, 279 (First Dist. 2002).
  14. In Plaintiff’s interrogatory No. 12, he makes overly broad requests that have no connection with the current action. Notably, Plaintiff requests information of when, where, and the contents of Defendant’s communication with third parties. This request is irrelevant in that regard, and should therefore be denied.
  15. Plaintiff’s requests are a breach of Defendant’s privacy rights
  16. The Illinois Constitution contains broad protection of privacy rights, providing that “[t]he people shall have the right to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and other possessions against unreasonable searches, seizures, invasions of privacy or interceptions of communications by eavesdropping devices or other means.” (Emphasis added.) Ill. Const. 1970, art. I, § 6. The Illinois Supreme Court has observed that “the Illinois Constitution goes beyond federal constitutional guarantees by expressly recognizing a zone of personal privacy, and *** the protection of that privacy is stated broadly and without restrictions.” (Emphasis added.) Kunkel v. Walton, 179 Ill.2d 519 689 N.E.2d 1047 (citing In re May 1991 Will County Grand Jury, 152 Ill. 2d 381, 391 (1992)). ¶ 34
  17. The constitutional right embodied in the privacy clause of the Illinois Constitution arose from the desire to safeguard against the collection and exploitation of intimate personal information. People v. Mitchell, 165 Ill. 2d 211, 220 (1995) (citing the comments of the drafters of the privacy clause, which was added to the constitution in 1970); see also People v. Caballes, 221 Ill. 2d 282, 330-31 (2006) (the drafters of the privacy clause intended to protect against infringements on “the zone of personal privacy,” such as those that “reveal private medical information” or “the contents of diaries or love letters; *** the individual’s choice of reading materials, whether religious, political, or pornographic; *** [or] sexual orientation or marital infidelity”); In re Will County Grand Jury, 152 Ill. 2d at 396 (privacy clause protects against disclosure of personal medical and financial records). In short, under the privacy clause, “a person has a reasonable expectation that he will not be forced to submit to a close scrutiny of his personal characteristics, unless for a valid reason.” (Emphasis added). In re Will County Grand Jury, 152 Ill. 2d at 391-92. ¶ 35
  18. In Plaintiff’s interrogatory No. 24, Plaintiff seeks Defendant to conduct a search on his email, for search terms provided by Plaintiff. Defendant opposes this request because it amounts to a violation of Defendant’s privacy. Notably, Defendant’s email is his zone of personal privacy. Accordingly, Defendant’s email should be protected from disclosure and/or scrutiny. Further, Defendant avers that there lacks a valid reason to justify the violation of the said right.
  19. Defendant has sufficiently responded to Plaintiff’s requests
  20. Black’s Law Dictionary defines “discovery” as “[t]he act or process of finding or learning something that was previously unknown.” Black’s Law Dictionary 498 (8th ed. 2004).
  21. Defendant has already responded to Plaintiff’s requests. However, Plaintiff remains adamant that Defendant has not complied with the requests. 
  22. Defendant contends that Plaintiff already has sufficient information as they requested. Also, Defendant also made it clear that he was trying to keep order in the classroom and had no animus toward Plaintiff personally. It appears, therefore, that Plaintiff seeks to make Defendant make admissions of his liability.

Plaintiff erroneously claims punitive damages

  1. In Illinois, it is recognized that “punitive damages are not favored in the law, and the courts must take caution to see that punitive damages are not improperly or unwisely awarded.” Kelsay v. Motorola, Inc. (1978), 74 Ill.2d 172, 188, 384 N.E.2d 353.
  2. Defendant contends that he has done no action to warrant punitive damages. Besides, Defendant’s former attorney met Plaintiff’s attorney to confer accordingly. Therefore, there is no single proof that Defendant is exhibiting behavior that should be subject Defendant to punitive damages.   

WHEREFORE, Defendant respectfully seeks entry of an order denying Plaintiff’s Motion for the reasons set forth herein.

DATED:    ______

CERTIFICATE OF MAILING

I, [ENTER NAME], certified on this                                      day of                           .2021, I deposited a true copy of the above to the Plaintiff by placing the documents with prepaid postage in the United States mailbox to Plaintiff’s address.

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