In Cirrincione v. Westminster Gardens, No. 1-03-0659 (1st Dist. 2004) (Quinn, J., dissenting), the First District reversed a trial court's decision to grant a dismissal with prejudice as a discovery sanction--
Sanction orders are not authorized to punish the wrongdoer. A "just order under Rule 219(c) is one which, to the degree possible, ensures both discovery and trial on the merits." Dismissal with prejudice is "not encouraged." There is a "strong policy which favors an adequate hearing of a litigant's claim on the merits." The circuit court abused its discretion in dismissing the case as a discovery sanction.
Id. (citations omitted). The trial court's dismissal of the plaintiffs' case followed a ruling that the plaintiffs had altered key documents--specifically, some cancelled checks on which they were relying--before producing them in the action. The Cirrincione court disagreed with the significance the trial court placed on the so-called "alteration," which involved writing a notation in the "memo" space after the cancelled checks had been returned to one of the plaintiffs.
The case discusses sanctions under Rule 219(c) and Rule 137. Justice Quinn, who dissented, would have upheld the trial court's ruling.