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Date: 08-16-2022

Case Style:

Sarah Simon v. Cooperative Educational Services Agency #5

Case Number: 21-2139

Judge: Kirsch

Court: United States Court of appeals for the Seventh Circuit on appeal from the Western District of Wisconsin (Dane County)

Plaintiff's Attorney:

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Defendant's Attorney: Ronald S. Stadler and Jonathan Edward Sacks

Description: Madison, Wisconsin civil rights lawyer represented Plaintiff, who sued defendant on a Family Medical Leave Act violation theory.

When Sarah Simon returned from
medical leave, her employer, Cooperative Educational Ser-
vice Agency #5, did not allow her to return to her previous
position as a lead teacher at her school. Instead, it placed her
in a backwater position with fewer responsibilities that re-
quired her to split her time between different schools. After a
bench trial, the district court determined that Cooperative
had violated the Family and Medical Leave Act and awarded
Simon declaratory relief and attorney’s fees. Cooperative ap-
pealed, contending that neither declaratory relief nor attor-
ney’s fees are appropriate under the circumstances.

* * *

The FMLA’s “Enforcement” section permits an eligible
employee to bring a civil action against her employer for vio-
lations “to recover the damages or equitable relief prescribed”
by the statute. 29 U.S.C. § 2617(a)(2). The FMLA further di-
rects that “[a]ny employer who violates section 2615 of this
title shall be liable to any eligible employee affected— ... for
such equitable relief as may be appropriate, including em-
ployment, reinstatement, and promotion.” Id. § 2617(a)(1)(B).
The parties dispute whether a declaratory judgment falls
within the FMLA’s authorization for “equitable relief.” If the
FMLA authorizes the entry of a declaratory judgment as “eq-
uitable relief,” Simon may be entitled to attorney’s fees. See
Id. § 2617(a)(3). If not, then the declaratory judgment was au-
thorized only by the Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C.
§ 2201, which does not provide for fees.


Outcome: Affirmed.

Plaintiff's Experts:

Defendant's Experts:


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