Violation Of Discovery Rule Deemed A Question Of Law

In Boyd v. City of Chicago, No. 1-06-0358 (12/5/08), the trial court precluded testimony of a fact witness. In Boyd’s appeal of an adverse jury verdict, he claimed the trial court improperly precluded his witness’s testimony as a discovery sanction.

The appellate court identified the standard of review: “ Whether a party violated a discovery rule is an issue of law that we review de novo”. But is this really a question of law? The determination about a violation of a statute seems like a question of fact. The appellate court identified the considerations to impose a sanction, and all six of them are fact questions. So whether a party violated the discovery rule should be a question of fact reviewed under a discretionary standard.