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Posted in Law on October 7, 2016   |  by Gary Burger

Discoverability of Surveillance Video in Illinois and Missouri

When you are suing a Defendant who has obtained surveillance video of your client, it is important to know the laws of discoverability in both Illinois and Missouri

It is well established in Illinois that video surveillance of the Plaintiff must be produced. Shields v. Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Ry. Co., 353 Ill. App. 3d 506 (1st Dist. 2004). In Shields, the First District Appellate Court reasoned that there is little to no distinction between video surveillance and other recorded statements which are discoverable. Both are statements, made by a party, and neither reveal an attorney’s mental impressions or litigation plans for trial.

Illinois Supreme Court Rule 201(b)(1) sets out the state’s expansive view of discovery:

Except as provided in these rules, a party may obtain by discovery full disclosure regarding any matter relevant to the subject matter involved in the pending action, whether it relates to the claim or defense of the party seeking disclosure or of any other party, including the existence, description, nature, custody, condition, and location of any documents or tangible things, and the identity and location of persons having knowledge of relevant facts...

For purposes of discovery in Illinois, only “opinion work product” matter which discloses the theories, mental impressions or litigation plans of a party's attorney is protected from discovery. See Mlynarski v. Rush Presbyterian St. Luke’s Medical Ctr., 213 Ill. App. 3d 427, 432 (1st Dist. 1991).

Missouri similarly holds that video surveillance is typically considered a “statement” made by the party being filmed and is therefore discoverable. See Feltz v. Bob Sight Ford, Inc., 341 S.W.3d 863-869 (Mo. App., 2011).