United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit
Employment – ADA — SAD
The evidence was sufficient to support the jury’s finding that it violated the ADA to deny a schoolteacher with seasonal affective disorder, a classroom with natural light.
“This challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence is particularly weak because we essentially decided these very same issues in Ekstrand’s favor the last time this case was before us. See Ekstrand v. School Dist. of Somerset, 583 F.3d 972 (7th Cir. 2009). When Ekstrand appealed the entry of summary judgment against her in 2009, we held that a genuine issue of material fact existed both as to whether (1) Ekstrand was a qualified individual with a disability during the relevant time period, and (2) as to whether the school district was aware. Id. at 977. By that, we simply meant that Ekstrand had presented enough evidence for a reasonable jury to find in her favor on those issues. The standard under Rule 50(b) presents us with the same question, and the school district has not raised any new legal theory that was not present in 2009. Instead, the school district hinges its argument on various factual developments at trial that it believes bolsters its case. But as we noted at oral argument, unless evidence favoring Ekstrand in the pretrial stage has since vanished (and there is no allegation that it has), we are presented with the same situation as before. Just as there was sufficient evidence for a possible verdict in Ekstrand’s favor on these very issues in the last appeal, so is there ample evidence at the post-trial stage for a reasonable jury to have found in Ekstrand’s favor.”
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, Crabb, J., Bauer, J.