United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
I. SHADUR SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Mapp ("Mapp") has sued Board of Trustees of
Community College District No. 508 (commonly referred to, and
referred to here, by the institutional name "City
Colleges"), charging it with disability discrimination
in violation of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities
Act ("the Act, " 42 U.S.C. § 12132 et
seq.). Now before this Court for decision is
City Colleges' motion for summary judgment under
Fed.R.Civ.P. ("Rule") 56.
Rule 56 movant bears the burden of establishing the absence
of any genuine issue of material fact (Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986)). For that purpose
courts consider the evidentiary record in the light most
favorable to nonmovants and draw all reasonable inferences in
their favor (Lesch v. Crown Cork & Seal Co., 282
F.3d 467, 471 (7th Cir. 2002)). Courts "may not make
credibility determinations, weigh the evidence, or decide
which inferences to draw from the facts" in resolving
motions for summary judgment (Payne v. Pauley, 337
F.3d 767, 770 (7th Cir. 2003)). But a nonmovant must produce
more than "a mere scintilla of evidence" to support
the position that a genuine issue of material fact exists
(Wheeler v. Lawson, 539 F.3d 629, 634 (7th Cir.
2008)) and "must come forward with specific facts
demonstrating that there is a genuine issue for trial"
(id.). Ultimately summary judgment is warranted only
if a reasonable jury could not return a verdict for the
nonmovant (Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S.
242, 248 (1986)).
a legally blind student enrolled at City Colleges (C. St.
¶¶ 1-2). To accommodate his disability, City
Colleges provided Mapp with a classroom assistant as well as
a note-taker and transcriber (C. St. ¶ 7). At the start
of the Spring 2015 semester Mapp enrolled in a class titled
"Math 98" that was taught by Professor Williams,
and a note-taker was assigned to assist Mapp in the class (C.
St. ¶ 10). Mapp attended the first and second day of the
class and did not experience any difficulty, and he states
that he believed he had everything he needed to complete the
class in the way of accommodation (C. St. ¶¶ 11,
second day of class Williams asked Mapp whether he could see
the board and whether he could read braille, to which Mapp
replied he could see only shadows and silhouettes and could
read braille "a little bit" (M. Dep. 75). What
followed in the conversation is unclear. According to Mapp,
Williams said, "I don't think you're going to be
able to complete the class" (M. St. ¶ 12). Although
City Colleges' Response to Plaintiff's Statement of
Material Facts (Dkt. No. 47) does not dispute that, Williams
testified in his deposition that he made no such comment (RW
Dep. 26: 12-15). Instead Williams contends that he did not
indicate to Mapp that it would be difficult for him to take
the class, that he "was concerned about what resources
[Mapp] would have, " that his own wife had
"finished medical school blind" and that he
"knew the resources that [his] wife had when she was in
medical school" (RW Dep. 26: 12-15; C. St. ¶ 13).
Such disparities between (1) a party's response (or in
this instance nonresponse) to an adversary's Statement of
Material Facts and (2) the testimony of one of its witnesses
are highly unusual.
research has not uncovered a direct parallel, but LR
56.1(b)(3)(B) requires the party opposing a movant for
summary judgment to file:
a response to each numbered paragraph in the moving
party's statement, including, in the case of any
disagreement, specific references to the affidavits, parts of
the record, and other supporting materials relied upon . . .
the statement that Mapp attributes to Williams is set out in
that response (M. St. ¶ 12) and was not addressed at all
in City College's Dkt. No. 47 response (the final filing
in the parties' exchange as to facts). That nonresponse
by one party is the kind of thing that typically renders the
other party's assertion a disputed issue of material fact
(see, e.g., such cases as Curtis v. Costco Wholesale
Corp., 807 F.3d 215, 218-19 (7th Cir. 2015)).
however is an issue that need not be resolved, because this
Court is not required to discern the exact words of the
conversation in order to decide whether a question of
material fact exists. Another witness, Mapp's note-taker
Cole, testified that "[Williams] said he wasn't sure
how [Mapp] was going to be able to handle that class because
he had a wife that was blind, and he knows how difficult it
can be" (VC Dep. 12:12-19). But in all events it is
agreed by the parties that Mapp believed Williams did not
think he could complete the class (C. St. ¶ 14).
then approached an advisor at Malcolm X College -- a Mrs.
Gibson (M. St. ¶ 22). Mapp asserts that on hearing
Williams' comment Mrs. Gibson said "that she was not
surprised" and that "previous students had
complained about [Williams]." (M. St. ¶ 23).
According to Mapp, Mrs. Gibson tried but was unable to help
him enroll in Math 98 with a different teacher (CM Dep. 88:
12-17). Mapp then dropped Math 98 from his schedule and
enrolled in a different and unrelated class (C. St. ¶
12). In the fall of 2015 Mapp reenrolled in and passed Math
98 at Harold Washington College, one of the seven other City
Colleges (CM Dep. 122: 17-20; C. St. ¶ 18). In the
interim summer semester he took a course called "Math
Level Up, " during which he adjusted to a new way of
learning math without his eyesight (C. St. ¶¶