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BRUGGEMAN v. BLAGOJEVICH

January 8, 2004.

BRIAN BRUGGEMAN, by and through his parents, Kenneth and Carol Bruggeman, FRANCES CORSELLO, by and through her parents, Vincent and Agnes Corsello, ANGELA MOORE, by and through her parents, James and Brenda Moore, GREG BLANEY, JR., by and through his parent, Yolanda Duncan, MELISSA COLE, by and through her parents, Frank and Annie Cole JEFFREY FALCONE, by and through his parents Salvatore and Frances Falcone, SEAN STEELE, by and through his parent, Gregory and Lee Pionke, DAVID STIMAN, by and through his parents, Tony and Tammy Goodman, CHRISTINE AUER, by and through her parents, Alfred and Patricia Auer, DOUGLAS WILSMAN, by and through his parent, Loretta Holme, LEAH JONES, by and through her parents, Lawrence and Kathy Jones, Plaintiffs,
v.
ROD BLAGOJEVICH, in his official capacity as Governor of the State of Illinois, BARRY S. MARAM, in his official capacity as Director of the Illinois Department of Public Aid, CAROL L. ADAMS, in her official capacity as Secretary of the Illinois Department of Human Services, GEOFFREY OBRZUT, in his official capacity as Associate Director of the Office of Developmental Disabilities, Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: MORTON DENLOW, Magistrate Judge Page 2

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

This case comes before this Court on the issue of whether Plaintiffs are entitled to discovery of any and all documents concerning the extent to which Defendants (1) have not obtained matching or federal Medicaid funding for its programs for persons with developmental disabilities; and (2) have not complied with the Medicaid waiver program and Medicaid with respect to persons with mental disabilities. For the following reasons, Plaintiffs' motion to compel discovery is granted in part and denied in part.

  I. BACKGROUND

  To the extent they are relevant to this determination, the Court adopts the underlying facts of this case as stated by the Seventh Circuit in Bruggeman v. Blagojevich, 324 F.3d 906, 908-09 (7th Cir. 2003):
Several developmentally disabled . . . adults, residents of Illinois, sue the responsible state officials, in their official capacity, for alleged violations of the federal Medicaid statute, the Rehabilitation Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. . . .
  The Medicaid statute, administered by each state that enrolls in the Medicaid program but funded 50-50 by the state and the federal government, defrays certain medical expenses of individuals such as these plaintiffs who lack the wherewithal to pay the expenses themselves. The plaintiffs live at home with their parents in the Chicago metropolitan area. The parents would prefer their children to live in institutions known as "Intermediate Care Facilities for the Developmentally Disabled," most of which however are located in southern Illinois, far from Chicago. The vacancy rate for ICF/DDs in the Chicago area is very low, and the parents do not want to ship their children off to ICF/DDs in the southern part of the state because of the time and expense that would be entailed in traveling to visit them, and so they want the defendants to adopt a plan for expanding the number of ICF/DDs in the northern Page 3 part of the state. They argue . . . that the defendants prefer the plaintiffs to live at home because it would cost the state more to pay for their care in an institution, and so the defendants refuse to write letters urging authorization of additional ICF/DDs in the northern part of the state to the planning agency that is responsible for such authorizations and without the letters the planning agency will not grant the authorizations.
 The Plaintiffs' fourth amended complaint contains five counts:
Count I: Violation of Medicaid Act
Count II: Violation of [Fourteenth Amendment] Due Process
Count III: Violation of Americans with Disabilities Act
Count IV: Violation of Rehabilitation Act
Count V: Violation of [Fourteenth Amendment] Equal Protection.
The district court dismissed all five counts.

  Plaintiffs appealed only the dismissal of Counts I, III, and IV. The Seventh Circuit sustained dismissal of Count I on the merits. Bruggeman, 324 F.3d at 910-11. It reinstated the Rehabilitation Act ("RA") and the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") counts, and remanded the case to the district court to consider whether the State of Illinois ("the State") has a plan oriented to prevent the isolation or segregation of developmentally disabled adults. Id. at 913, For guidance on remand, the Seventh Circuit directed the parties and the district court to follow Olmstead v. L.C. ex rel. Zimring, 527 U.S. 581 (1999). Id.

  In their exploration of the issue posed by the Seventh Circuit, Plaintiffs served a request for production of documents upon Defendants. Defendants objected to certain Page 4 requests. After receiving no or an allegedly inadequate production of documents from Defendants, Plaintiffs filed a motion to compel discovery in response to requests numbered 6, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, and 31. Plaintiffs have since withdrawn production requests 6, 13, 14, 15, and 16. Production requests 17 through 21, and 31 are outstanding, and the parties have fully briefed the two issues surrounding those requests. The first issue pertains to requests 17 through 21; the second issue pertains to request 31. This court will address each issue in turn.

  II. DISCUSSION

  Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26, the scope of discovery reaches any matter, not privileged, that is relevant to the claim or defense of any party. The information sought need not be admissible at the trial if the information sought appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1). Thus, the question is whether the information sought by Plaintiffs is relevant and likely to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. The burden is on the party objecting to the discovery request to show why such discovery is improper. Med. Billing Consultants, Inc. v. Intelligent Med. Objects, Inc., No. 01 C 9148, 2003 WL 1809465, at *1 (N.D. Ill. Apr. 4, 2003).

 A. Requests Nos. 17, 18, 19, 20, and 21

  1. The Requests and the Objections

  Plaintiffs have requested Defendants to produce any and all documents which reflect that the State of Illinois provides funding for persons with developmental disabilities and Page 5 either "does" or "does not" obtain matching or federal Medicaid funding for those programs. Reqs. 17 & 18. More specifically, Plaintiffs request documents, records, reports, and studies done by the State or any agency, commission, or third party on that subject, Req. 19, or concerning "what steps the State of Illinois must undertake in order to obtain matching federal Medicaid funding" for those programs, Req. 21. Plaintiffs also request documents and proposals concerning whether certain mental disability programs funded by the State are not receiving federal medicaid reimbursement. Req. 20.

  Defendants' response to each of Plaintiffs' requests is the same:
It is undisputed that the State of Illinois maintains certain grant programs to adults with mental retardation/developmental disabilities which are not part of the Medicaid program and for which federal matching funds are not sought or received. As these grant programs are not Medicaid funded, the state has no obligation under the ADA or the Rehabilitation Act to make them apart of the Medicaid program, A recently issued report from the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities addressing these issues will be produced; however, Defendants object to and will not produce any ...

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