My wife an I are defendant's/counter plaintiffs in a Mechanics Lien and Breach of Contract litigation. The opposing attorney in his discovery request had requested "all financial records to which we were signatories from the date of the signing of the construction contract until the date the GC was terminated, which we did not provide as they are not relevant since timely payments had been made until we discovered that the Plaintiff was not paying his subs. The opposing attorney has not filed a motion to compel. We just received a "Notice of Deposition" where we are being asked to bring with us documentation proving that we had funds available to pay the last draw request. Even though the money was available and we can prove so, we feel that it would be wrong to provide that information.
Under Illinois law, the other side is entitled to obtain, through discovery, documents relevant to the subject matter of the case. Relevant documents include not only documents which are admissible at trial, but also ones which lead to admissible evidence. Generally, however, prior to entry and enforcement of a judgment, a person’s right to privacy in his or her financial affairs is paramount.
I am assuming that you objected in writing to the request as improper, in which case the attorney should have promptly brought a motion for ruling on your objection.
If warranted, you can bring the issue to the Court’s attention and it may enter a protective order limiting or denying the discovery (oftentimes sensitive financial information is precisely the type of material this is the subject of such an order).
During the deposition, you can refuse to answer those types of questions (if improper). If, however, the attorney feels strongly about his or her position, he or she might call the judge right then and there to get resolution. The attorney might try to continue the deposition if there is no protective order in place and you don't bring the documents.
I encourage you to retain an attorney.
Mr. Kuehl is quite correct, but the issue itself might be whether or not you had the means to complete the contract or if your financial position suggests that your termination of the GC was actually pretextual. Given that mechanic's lien cases involve statutory interest and shifting of the attorney's fees to successful plaintiffs, you are running a major risk if you're not properly represented. If you have an attorney, you need to address these issues with him or her. If you're trying to defend yourself, you're on the road to a financial risk of significant proportions. This is not a do-it-yourself kind of case.
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