Illinois Supreme Court Rule 213(f) states: "Upon written interrogatory, a party must furnish the identity and addresses of witnesses who will testify at trial." The rules also requires a statement about the subjects on which each witness will testify, in addition to other information depending on the witness's status as a lay witness, independent expert witness, or controlled expert witness.
When giving the subject of a witness's testimony, how much detail is required? The recent case of Kim v. Mercedes-Benz, 1-03-1270 (1st Dist. 6/17/04) gives one answer.
In Kim, the plaintiff stated in answers to interrogatories that he would testify at trial "about the matters alleged in [p]laintiff's complaint." The Kim court ruled that the trial court properly prevented the plaintiff from offering lay opinion testimony on the issue of the diminished value of his vehicle.
Although detailed disclosure for lay witnesses is no longer required under the newly amended version of Rule 213, plaintiff's notice that he would testify as to matters set forth in his complaint is a generalized statement akin to the committee comments' example noting that merely testifying about an "accident" is improper disclosure. The committee comments to Rule 213(f) state that the purpose of this rule is "to prevent unfair surprise at trial, without creating an undue burden on the parties before trial." Official Reports Advance Sheet No. 8 (April 17, 2002), R. 213(f), Committee Comments, eff. July 1, 2002.
Here, regardless of the complaint's numerous allegations of the diminished value of the vehicle, plaintiff's generalized statement as to his proposed testimony created an unfair surprise with respect to the attempt to introduce testimony as to the diminished value of [his vehicle].