Universal Metro Asian Services Ass’n v. Mahmood

Illinois Appellate Court
Civil Court
Fifth Amendment
Case Number: 
2021 IL App (1st) 200584
Decision Date: 
Tuesday, April 27, 2021
1st Dist.
Cook Co., 2d Div.

Plaintiffs filed suit alleging conversion and unjust enrichment. After one individual Defendant was criminally charged with tax evasion in federal court, he moved to stay state court civil proceedings and discovery until resolution of federal case. Defendants failed to meet their burden to show that the stay was necessary; and court properly considered relevant factors guiding a decision on a stay of proceedings. Although individual Defendant's response to discovery on behalf of Defendant companies could potentially give rise to self-incrimination concerns, that does not relieve him fo the obligation to respond in his individual or representative capacity. A corporation has no 5th amendment privilege to use as a basis to refuse to produce corporate records. Defendants could  have an agent appointed to respond to discovery, as a protective mechanism.  As court did not abuse its discretion in denying a stay of proceedings, it did not abuse its discretion in denying a stay of discovery. (LAVIN and PUCINSKI, concurring.)