This was a negligence lawsuit in which the defendant died two years after his discovery deposition. In this case, the Illinois Appellate Court was unanimous on the dispute about the Illinois Dead-Man’s Act, 735 ILCS 5/8-201. However, justices of the 5th District, Judy L. Cates and David K. Overstreet, disagreed on whether the trial judge misconstrued Illinois Supreme Court Rule 212(a)(5), which was amended in 2011 to permit use of discovery depositions as substantive evidence at trial.
Illinois Supreme Court Rule 212(a)(5) says that a discovery deposition may be used “upon reasonable notice to all parties, as evidence at trial or hearing against the party who appeared at the deposition or was given proper notice thereof, if the court finds that the deponent is not a controlled expert witness, the deponent’s evidence deposition has not been taken and the deponent is unable to attend or testify because of death or infirmity, and if the court, based on its sound discretion, further finds such evidence at trial or hearing will do substantial justice between or among the parties.”
Kevin Eyster sued Kenneth Conrad for allegedly causing an auto crash. The administrator of Conrad’s estate requested summary judgment, arguing the Dead-Man’s Act blocked Eyster from testifying about the incident.