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Civil/Commercial Litigation (Lawsuits)/asking the defendent to destroy my medical records


QUESTION: I am the plaintiff of a small claims suit in Illinois, defendant's lawyer asks for an out of court settlement and the defendant is willing to pay for the court cost on top of the amount that he owes me, she asked me to give her a number.

I know that one can not claim the pain and suffering from the judgment with small claims cases, I am wondering if I can negotiate a punitive damages as part of the settlement amount, the defendant was grossly fraudulent and caused me a great deal of pain.

Thank you for any help you can provide.

ANSWER: ANSWER: Hello Justine,

Before I respond further to your question, I must make clear that I do not represent you, and cannot give you individual particularized legal advice. No attorney client relationship is created by this email. For legal advice, you should hire your own attorney, and follow their advice. My role with AllExperts is limited to providing general information and suggestions for educational or general knowledge purposes. Before you take any action, consult with your own attorney.

The decision to settle a case, and if so for how much, is a client decision according to the rules of my state.  Largely that's because it's your money and your life experience that is effected by your settlement.  Settlement is less about your feelings or the merits (whether in fact or law) - settlement is about a dollar figure where you and your opponent can find acceptable middle ground; and if you can get there, then that's what the case is worth.

As a practical matter, you won't do better and your opponent can't do worse at the hearing than have a judgment entered for 100% of your claim, plus costs.  It appears to me that is precisely what you are being offered, and since that's being offered, I can't imagine a reason you wouldn't accept.

I hope this helps, good luck to you.

Morgan Smith
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Conciliation Court * Civil Litigation * Forfeitures * Construction * Family Law

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi Morgan,

First of all thanks for your reply.

I am actually going to accept the defendant's offer and to settle.

I have another question regarding the same case:
the defendant is a psychotherapist, he took my payments for 2 sessions but didn't even take down a single note for my medical chart, he then falsified some medical records after I filed for this law suite against him.

Can I ask that the medical records be destroyed as part of the settlement? so that it's as if I had never been there, and to have the judge rule on that? the records are falsified, they are all made up.



Hello again Justine,

The same rules of my initial reply apply to this follow up.

Parties can craft whatever creative terms of an agreement that they wish.  You can ask for anything, and if your opponent agrees, your requests can become part of your agreement.  An agreement is not typically something that a judge "rules" on; rather, a judge will usually confirm only that the parties understand and are intelligently entering into an agreement, and then enter an appropriate Order.  If you want the judge to "rule" on contested issues, then you are outside of the realm of settlement.

Speak to an attorney licensed in your state to help you craft appropriate settlement language, and preserve your rights concerning your records in a way that you are comfortable with before you execute your settlement, or give up your right to continue litigating.

I hope this helps, good luck to you.

Morgan Smith
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Conciliation Court * Civil Litigation * Forfeitures * Construction * Family Law  

Civil/Commercial Litigation (Lawsuits)

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Morgan Smith


Civil litigation (contract claims, landlord-tenant actions, forfeiture suits, residential construction defect matters), Family law (divorce, custody modifications, child support modifications, and pre-nuptial agreement), new business start-ups, civil forfeiture, asset forfeiture. Please do not submit your question as Private. It is my policy not to answer Private questions from members of the public here on AllExperts; I reserve that function to my private clients. Although AllExperts permits me to change your questions from Private to Public, it is my policy not to do that. I encourage you to resubmit your question as a public question. Your public question has the potential to help others with similar concerns. I suggest that you use a pretend name and otherwise alter sensitive facts that make you inclined to treat your question as Private, and submit your question to me Publicly.


I've been practicing law in the State of Minnesota since 1995. I've worked in skyscraper firms, and now my own small firm in Minneapolis. Past answers from my earlier participation on AllExperts is posted at:

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J.D. William Mitchell College of Law, St Paul, MN

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