Ill. Sup. Ct. R. 214

As amended through September 29, 2021
Rule 214 - Discovery of Documents, Objects, and Tangible Things-Inspection of Real Estate
(a) Any party may by written request direct any other party to produce for inspection, copying, reproduction photographing, testing or sampling specified documents, including electronically stored information as defined under Rule 201(b)(4), objects or tangible things, or to permit access to real estate for the purpose of making surface or subsurface inspections or surveys or photographs, or tests or taking samples, or to disclose information calculated to lead to the discovery of the whereabouts of any of these items, whenever the nature, contents, or condition of such documents, objects, tangible things, or real estate is relevant to the subject matter of the action. The request shall specify a reasonable time, which shall not be less than 28 days after service of the request except by agreement or by order of court, and the place and manner of making the inspection and performing the related acts.
(b) With regard to electronically stored information as defined in Rule 201(b)(4), if a request does not specify a form for producing electronically stored information, a party must produce it in a form or forms in which it is ordinarily maintained or in a reasonably usable form or forms.
(c) One copy of the request shall be served on all other parties entitled to notice. A party served with the written request shall (1) identify all materials in the party's possession responsive to the request and copy or provide reasonable opportunity for copying or inspections. Production of documents shall be as they are kept in the usual course of business or organized and labeled to correspond with the categories in the request, or (2) serve upon the party so requesting written objections on the ground that the request is improper in whole or in part. If written objections to a part of the request are made, the remainder of the request shall be complied with. A party may object to a request on the basis that the burden or expense of producing the requested materials would be disproportionate to the likely benefit, in light of the factors set out in Rule 201(c)(3). Any objection to the request or the refusal to respond shall be heard by the court upon prompt notice and motion of the party submitting the request. If the party claims that the item is not in his or her possession or control or that he or she does not have information calculated to lead to the discovery of its whereabouts, the party may be ordered to submit to examination in open court or by deposition regarding such claim. The producing party shall furnish an affidavit stating whether the production is complete in accordance with the request. Copies of identifications, objections and affidavits of completeness shall be served on all parties entitled to notice.
(d) A party has a duty to seasonably supplement any prior response to the extent of documents, objects or tangible things which subsequently come into that party's possession or control or become known to that party.
(e) This rule does not preclude an independent action against a person not a party for production of documents and things and permission to enter upon real estate.

Ill. Sup. Ct. R. 214

Amended June 28, 1974, effective September 1, 1974; amended October 1, 1976, effective November 15, 1976; amended June 1, 1995, effective January 1, 1996; amended May 29, 2014, eff. July 1, 2014; amended June 8, 2018, effective July 1, 2018.

Committee Comments

(Revised May 29, 2014)

Paragraphs (a) and (b)

The Committee reorganized Rule 214 as well as creating new paragraph (b), which is modeled after Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 34(b).

Paragraph (c)

The Committee's intent was to assist in the area of electronically stored information by allowing for identification of materials.

Committee Comments

(Revised June 1, 1995)

As originally promulgated Rule 214 was patterned after former Rule 17. It provided for discovery of documents and tangible things, and for entry upon real estate, in the custody or control of any "party or other person," by moving the court for an order compelling such discovery. In 1974, the rule was amended to eliminate the requirement of a court order. Under the amended rule a party seeking production of documents or tangible things or entry on real estate in the custody or control of any other party may serve the party with a request for the production of the documents or things, or for permission to enter upon the real estate. The party receiving the request must comply with it or serve objections. If objections are served, the party seeking the discovery may serve a notice of hearing on the objections, or in case of failure to respond to the request may move the court for an order under Rule 219(a).

The request procedure may be utilized only when discovery is sought from a party to the action. Discovery of documents and tangible things in the custody or control of a person not a party may be obtained by serving him with a subpoena duces tecum for the taking of his deposition. The last paragraph of the rule was added to indicate that the rule is not preemptive of an independent action for discovery in the nature of a bill in equity. Such an action can be employed, then, in the occasional case in which a party seeks to inspect real estate that is in the custody or control of a person not a party to the main action.

The first paragraph has been revised to require a party producing documents to produce those documents organized in the order in which they are kept in the usual course of business, or organized and labeled to correspond with the categories in the request. This revision requires the party producing documents and that party's attorney to make a good-faith review of documents produced to ensure full compliance with the request, but not to burden the requesting party with nonresponsive documents.

The failure to organize the requested documents as required by this rule, or the production of nonresponsive documents intermingled among the requested documents, constitutes a discovery abuse subject to sanctions under Rule 219.

The first paragraph has also been amended to require a party to include in that party's production response all responsive information in computer storage in printed form. This change is intended to prevent parties producing information from computer storage on storage disks or in any other manner which tends to frustrate the party requesting discovery from being able to access the information produced.

Rule 201(b) has also been amended to include in the definition of "documents" all retrievable information in computer storage, so that there can be no question but that a producing party must search its computer storage when responding to a request to produce documents pursuant to this rule.

The last sentence of the first paragraph has also been revised to make mandatory the requirement that the party producing documents furnish an affidavit stating whether the production is complete in accordance with the request. Previously, the party producing documents was not required to furnish such an affidavit unless requested to do so.

The second paragraph is new. This paragraph parallels the similar requirement in Rule 213 that a party must seasonably supplement any prior response to the extent that documents, objects or tangible things subsequently come into that party's possession or control or become known to that party. A party who has knowledge of documents, objects or tangible things responsive to a previously served request must disclose that information to the requesting party whether or not the actual documents, objects or tangible things are in the possession of the responding party. To the extent that responsive documents, objects or tangible things are not in the responding party's possession, the compliance affidavit requires the producing party to identify the location and nature of such responsive documents, objects or tangible things. It is the intent of this rule that a party must produce all responsive documents, objects or tangible things in its possession, and fully disclose the party's knowledge of the existence and location of responsive documents, objects or tangible things not in its possession so as to enable the requesting party to obtain the responsive documents, objects or tangible things from the custodian.