Holly B. Geraci, Plaintiff-Appellant,
Union Square Condominium Association, Defendant-Appellee.
February 22, 2018
from the United States District Court for the Northern
District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 15 C 2466 -
Matthew F. Kennelly, Judge.
Bauer, Easterbrook, and Rovner, Circuit Judges.
appeal arises from a Fair Hous- ing Act ("FHA")
failure to accommodate and retaliation claim. A jury found in
favor of the defendant, Union Square Condo- minium
Association ("Union Square"). The plaintiff, Holly
Geraci, now appeals asserting that the district court errone-
ously instructed the jury as to the elements for her
retaliation claim, and erroneously allowed Union Square to
present testimony from an expert witness as to whether or not
she qualified as handicap under the FHA.
owns and lives in a unit at Union Square with her husband and
dog. This claim originates from an incident in one of Union
Square's elevators involving another individual and an
unspecified number of dogs. Due to this incident, Geraci
sought psychological treatment and was subsequently diag-
nosed with post-traumatic stress disorder ("PTSD").
filed an accommodation request with Union Square, and upon
denial of her request, she filed a four count com- plaint
against Union Square. Relevant to this appeal, Geraci alleged
a failure to accommodate her handicap and retaliation by the
association for her seeking an accommodation, both in
violation of the FHA. Geraci asserted entitlement to a
reason- able accommodation based on her diagnosis of PTSD,
which, she asserted, rose to the level of a handicap. She
further asserted Union Square retaliated against her when
Union Square's Board ("the Board") published
two litigation updates and held an open forum to discuss and
update Union Square's co-owners about the status of the
the district court denied Union Square's motion for
summary judgment, the case went to trial. Over Geraci's
objection, Union Square presented testimony of the
psychiatrist who had previously conducted a court ordered
Rule 35 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure examination
during litigation. The psychiatrist's testimony
contradicted the diagnosis of Geraci's treating
psychologist, diagnosing her with three separate mental
conditions, none of which were PTSD. Geraci's overarching
objection was to the district court allowing Union Square to
question whether Geraci had a mental impairment.
the district court instructed the jury, the case was
submitted to the jury. During deliberations, the jury sent a
note to the district court that read, "[i]f all of us
jurors agreed she did not have a handicap per FHA criteria,
do we need to go through all items on the first and second
claims to establish verdict?" The district court
responded by referring the jury back to the instructions that
had been provided. The jury returned a verdict in favor of
Union Square. This appeal followed.
appeal, Geraci argues the district court erred in instruct-
ing the jury that in order to recover for retaliation in
violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3617, Geraci first had to prove
she has a handi- cap, and in allowing Union Square to present
testimony from an expert witness challenging Geraci's
claimed mental impair- ment.
trial, Geraci alleged Union Square retaliated against her
because she requested an accommodation. On appeal, she argues
the district court erred in instructing the jury that she
must first prove she is handicapped to prevail on a
retaliation claim under § 3617. We affirm not on the
basis that the district court properly ...