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Chickadaunce v. Minott

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

October 6, 2014

JAY ALLEN CHICKADAUNCE by his mother and next friend Dianna Williams; on his own behalf and on behalf of a class of those similarly situated, CHRIS REISING by his mother and next friend Mary Reising; on his own behalf and on behalf of a class of those similarly situated, KRISTA BROWN by her mother and next friend Monica Smith; on her own behalf and on behalf of a class of those similarly situated, JACOB KNIGHT, Plaintiffs,
v.
DEBRA MINOTT in her official capacity as Secretary of the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, NICOLE NORVELL in her official capacity as Director of the Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services of the Indiana Family and Social Services Admin., Defendants.

ORDER ON PLAINTIFFS' MOTION TO COMPEL DISCOVERY

MARK J. DINSMORE, Magistrate Judge.

This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion to Compel Discovery. [Dkt. 69.] For the following reasons, the Court GRANTS Plaintiffs' motion.

I. Background

On August 1, 2013, several disabled individuals ("Plaintiffs") filed suit against officials of the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration ("State" or "Defendants"), alleging that the way Defendants administered the Indiana Community Integration and Habilitation Medicaid Waiver Program ("CIH Waiver Program") did not ensure Plaintiffs received benefits to which they were entitled under federal Medicaid Law. [Dkt. 1 at 1-2.] Plaintiffs further alleged violations of the "integration mandate" of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. [Dkt.1 at 2; Dkt. 71 at 2.] They specifically targeted the State's "objective-based allocation" system, which imposes caps on the amount of services available to persons in the CIH program. [Dkt. 26 at 6-9.]

Plaintiffs moved for class certification, [Dkts. 3, 22 & 26], and on October 29, 2013, Plaintiffs and Defendants stipulated to certification of a class defined as "[a]ny and all persons enrolled in Indiana's [CIH Waiver Program] since August 1, 2011, or who will be enrolled in that program, who have been assigned or who will be assigned an ALGO level of four (4) or higher." [Dkt. 29 at 1-2.] The Court approved the stipulation, [Dkt. 30], and the class contains approximately 4, 800 members. [Dkt. 79 at 1.]

Class counsel originally requested from Defendants the electronic case files of 146 past and current class members. [Dkts. 69-4, 69-5.] Plaintiffs twice amended their request. [Dkts. 69-6, 69-7.] They now seek approximately 200 case files of specific individuals and an unknown number of case files from the St. Vincent New Hope group home facility, which provides services to class members. [Dkt. 79 at 1.] The New Hope facility is the subject of the testimony of State expert witness Dr. Daniel Shull. [Dkt. 71 at 5.]

The requested files relate to 1) persons who appear on Plaintiffs' witness list; 2) persons class counsel has identified as suffering as a result of the State's allocation of funding; 3) persons terminated from the CIH Waiver Program; and 4) persons who received services at New Hope. [Dkt. 71 at 3-4.] The State opposed the request for these files. [Dkt. 69-5.] The parties could not resolve the dispute, and this Motion to Compel Discovery followed on September 22, 2014. [Dkt. 69.]

II. Legal Standard

The Court has broad discretion over discovery. Patterson v. Avery Dennison Corp., 281 F.3d 676, 681 (7th Cir. 2002). "Although there is a strong public policy in favor of disclosure of relevant materials, " the Court may impose limits if the discovery sought would be "unreasonably cumulative or duplicative, or is obtainable from some other source that is more convenient, less burdensome, or less expensive." Id. (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)). "Before restricting discovery, the court should consider the totality of the circumstances, weighing the value of the material sought against the burden of providing it, and taking into account society's interest in furthering the truthseeking function in the particular case before the court." Id. (internal quotations and citations omitted).

When ruling on a motion to compel, specific factors to consider include "timeliness, good cause, utility, and materiality." CSC Holdings, Inc. v. Redisi, 309 F.3d 988, 993 (7th Cir. 2002); see also Wiginton v. CB Richard Ellis, Inc., 229 F.R.D. 568, 571 (N.D. Ill. 2004) (listing relevant factors as "the needs of the case, the amount in controversy, the resources of the parties, the importance of the issues at stake in the litigation, and the importance of the proposed discovery in resolving the issues"). The Court, in short, conducts a "balancing test weighing the value of the material sought against the burden of providing it." Belbachir v. United States, No. 08 C 50193, 2010 WL 4718358, at *1 (N.D. Ill. Nov. 15, 2010).

III. Discussion

The parties present several arguments, each of which addresses either the value of the case files at issue or the burden of producing the files.

A. Value of the Case Files

1. Proving Plaintiffs' ...


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