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Miller v. Rosado

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division

October 12, 2016

KEVIN MILLER, Plaintiff,
v.
DEBRA G. ROSADO and JOHN WERNERT, Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          PAUL R. CHERRY UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion to Compel Further Responses and Further Discovery [DE 51], filed by Plaintiff Kevin Miller on September 12, 2016. Defendants filed a response on September 26, 2016, and Plaintiff filed a reply on October 4, 2016.

         On April 4, 2016, the Court issued an Opinion and Order on Defendants' Motion to Dismiss, denying the motion as to Plaintiff's § 1983 Fourteenth Amendment claims and recognizing his allegations of denial of due process:

Plaintiff argues that he has alleged that he was denied procedural due process because FSSA is only allowing him to submit twelve months of medical evidence in support of his Medicaid claim whereas he argues that the Indiana Medicaid policy manual states that he is allowed from the onset of his conditions to apply. He also alleges that the ALJ denied him due process by restarting the audio recording of the hearing. And, he argues violations of due process rights at his hearing when the ALJ remanded his case at the hearing but he then received a written Notice of Hearing Decision dismissing his appeal for procedural reasons.

(ECF 36, p. 7).

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(b) provides:

Unless otherwise limited by court order, the scope of discovery is as follows: Parties may obtain discovery regarding any nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any party's claim or defense and proportional to the needs of the case, considering the importance of the issues at stake in the action, the amount in controversy, the parties' relative access to relevant information, the parties' resources, the importance of the discovery in resolving the issues, and whether the burden or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely benefit. Information within this scope of discovery need not be admissible in evidence to be discoverable.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b).

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37 provides that a “party may move for an order compelling disclosure or discovery.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a)(1).

         In the instant motion, Plaintiff asks the Court to compel further discovery responses and/or admissions from Defendants.

         As an initial matter, the Court finds that all of Plaintiff's discovery requests regarding Plaintiff's food stamps (formerly identified as food stamps and now identified as SNAP benefits) is not relevant to the issues in this case because those benefits are outside the scope of Plaintiff's remaining claims.

         The Court also notes Defendants' representation that many of Plaintiff's requests in the instant motion are for documents that Defendants have already provided through discovery. Plaintiff requested his entire file for numerous years. Defendants represent that they have produced all documents for the requested time period that FSSA had in its possession and that Defendants could find after making a good faith effort to collect the documents. Defendants represent that this effort included many hours of research and coordination with different sections of FSSA. Defendants have produced over 700 pages of documents.

         Plaintiff argues in the Motion to Compel that FSSA has not met its obligation to request medical records from physicians. However, this is a new legal claim that was not raised in his Complaint. Plaintiff may not amend his Complaint through discovery requests. Therefore, any discovery requests related to FSSA not requesting medical records from physicians is denied on the basis that the requests are not relevant. The Court denies the Motion to Compel as to requests made on this ground.

         Plaintiff also argues in his motion that he is disabled and cannot physically and/or financially afford to produce medical evidence to FSSA at every Medicaid and foodstamp redetermination or hearing for denials. Again, to the extent that Plaintiff is asserting a new legal claim regarding his burden of producing documents for administrative hearings, this is a new legal argument not raised in the Complaint. Therefore, discovery related to these assertions is not relevant. The Court denies the Motion to Compel as to requests made on this basis.

         Next, the Court considers each of Plaintiff's arguments organized by capital letter in his Brief in Support. The Court notes that ...


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