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Friday, December 17, 2004

Indiana Decisions - 7th Circuit posts one

Branham, Gary L. v. Snow, John W. (SD Ind., John Daniel Tinder, Judge)

Before CUDAHY, RIPPLE and ROVNER, Circuit Judges.
RIPPLE, Circuit Judge. Gary L. Branham brought this action
under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (“Rehabilitation Act”
or “the Act”), 29 U.S.C. § 701 et seq., against his employer,
the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”), for failing to hire him
as a Criminal Investigator in its Criminal Investigation
Division. The district court granted the IRS’ motion for
summary judgment on the ground that Mr. Branham was
not disabled for purposes of the Rehabilitation Act. For the
reasons set forth in the following opinion, we now reverse
the judgment of the district court and remand the case for
proceedings consistent with this opinion. * * *

On the record in this case, a reasonable trier of fact could
find that Mr. Branham is qualified for the position of
criminal investigator. Therefore, we must conclude that the
IRS is not entitled to summary judgment on the question of
Mr. Branham’s qualifications. See Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248
(“summary judgment will not lie . . . if the evidence is such
that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving
party”). Mr. Branham has raised a genuine issue of
material fact as to whether he can perform the essential
functions of the position of criminal investigator without
becoming a threat to the safety of himself or others. On this
record, the agency has not established otherwise.

For the reasons set forth in this opinion, the judgment of
the district court is reversed and the case is remanded for
proceedings consistent with this opinion. Mr. Branham may
recover his costs in this court.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on December 17, 2004 01:00 PM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions