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Case Name Tooley v. Van Buren Public Schools ED-MI-0004
Docket / Court 2:14-cv-13466 ( E.D. Mich. )
State/Territory Michigan
Case Type(s) Education
Case Summary
On September 5, 2014, a fourteen-year-old transgender boy filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan against South Middle School and its administrators, Summit Academy Charter Public School and its administrators, Wilson Middle School and its administrators, ... read more >
On September 5, 2014, a fourteen-year-old transgender boy filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan against South Middle School and its administrators, Summit Academy Charter Public School and its administrators, Wilson Middle School and its administrators, and OW Best Middle School and its administrators. The plaintiff, represented by private counsel, proceeded under Title IX, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the First Amendment, and the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. He sought monetary damages claiming that defendants had discriminated against him because he was transgender. Specifically, the plaintiff claimed that he was consistently misgendered by school staff, forced to use the girls' restroom, harassed by school staff and other students, and that he was repeatedly outed by school staff. He also claimed that his mother made repeated attempts to meet with his teachers and school administrators to discuss the plaintiff's situation, but that they avoided her, and when they did meet with her, they were dismissive.

On September 15, 2014, the plaintiff filed an amended complaint, which contained no substantive changes but stated his reliance on their demand for a jury trial.

On February 24, 2015, the United States submitted a statement of interest in the case. The United States stated its position that Title IX and the Equal Protection Clause prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, discrimination against transgender individuals is discrimination on the basis of sex and his prohibited by Title IX and the Equal Protection Clause and that the case should be allowed to proceed to discovery to resolve questions of fact.

The plaintiff filed a second amended complaint on November 5, 2015. It included additional factual allegations pertaining to the defendants' treatment of the plaintiff.

On February 23, 2016, all defendants filed a joint motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. Before District Judge Avern Cohn could rule on the motion to dismiss, however, the parties reached a settlement agreement and obtained court approval on March 8, 2017. The defendants agreed to pay the plaintiff $53,150.44 in damages and $44,349.56 in attorneys' fees and costs. The case is now closed.

Katherine Reineck - 11/15/2015
Eva Richardson - 01/31/2019


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Male
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Freedom of speech/association
Defendant-type
Elementary/Secondary School
Discrimination-basis
Gender identity
General
Gay/lesbian/transgender
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action State law
Title IV, Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000c et seq.
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. §§ 1681 et seq.
Defendant(s) OW Best Middle School
South Middle School
Summit Academy Charter Public School
Wilson Middle School
Plaintiff Description A sixteen-year-old transgender student whose school district would not allow him to use the boys' restroom
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Damages
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Filing Year 2014
Case Closing Year 2017
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Docket(s)
2:14-cv-13466 (E.D. Mich.)
ED-MI-0004-9001.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/09/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint and Jury Request [ECF# 1]
ED-MI-0004-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/05/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Complaint and Reliance on Jury Demand [ECF# 4]
ED-MI-0004-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/15/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Statement of Interest of the United States [ECF# 64-1]
ED-MI-0004-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/24/2015
Source: U.S. DOJ, Civil Rights Division, Education Section
Amended Complaint [ECF# 85]
ED-MI-0004-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/05/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Approving Settlement [ECF# 124] (2017 WL 1135800) (E.D. Mich.)
ED-MI-0004-0005.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 03/09/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Cohn, Avern Levin (E.D. Mich.) show/hide docs
ED-MI-0004-0005 | ED-MI-0004-9001
Grand, David R. (E.D. Mich.) [Magistrate] show/hide docs
ED-MI-0004-9001
Plaintiff's Lawyers Lennon, Edward G. (Michigan) show/hide docs
ED-MI-0004-9001
Marko, Jonathan R. (Michigan) show/hide docs
ED-MI-0004-0001 | ED-MI-0004-0002 | ED-MI-0004-9001
Rasor, James B. (Michigan) show/hide docs
ED-MI-0004-0001 | ED-MI-0004-0002 | ED-MI-0004-0004 | ED-MI-0004-9001
Thomas, Sarah Marie (Michigan) show/hide docs
ED-MI-0004-9001
Defendant's Lawyers Butler, George P. III (Michigan) show/hide docs
ED-MI-0004-9001
Camps, Peter N. (Michigan) show/hide docs
ED-MI-0004-9001
Chapie, Kenneth P. (Michigan) show/hide docs
ED-MI-0004-9001
Dorris, Carmen (Michigan) show/hide docs
ED-MI-0004-9001
Furton, Joseph R. Jr. (Michigan) show/hide docs
ED-MI-0004-9001
Hudson, David R. (Ohio) show/hide docs
ED-MI-0004-9001
Hulme, Roy (Ohio) show/hide docs
ED-MI-0004-9001
Johnston, Jennifer K. (Michigan) show/hide docs
ED-MI-0004-9001
Mullins, Timothy J. (Michigan) show/hide docs
ED-MI-0004-9001
O'Neal, Sherry D. (Michigan) show/hide docs
ED-MI-0004-9001
Rupert, Jennifer (Michigan) show/hide docs
ED-MI-0004-9001
Schindler, Robert T. (Michigan) show/hide docs
ED-MI-0004-9001
Sutton, Kevin T. (Michigan) show/hide docs
ED-MI-0004-9001
Other Lawyers DeClercq, Susan K. (Michigan) show/hide docs
ED-MI-0004-0003 | ED-MI-0004-9001
Ernst, Kevin S. (Michigan) show/hide docs
ED-MI-0004-9001
McQuade, Barbara L. (Michigan) show/hide docs
ED-MI-0004-0003

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