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Case Name Karnoski v. Trump EE-WA-0131
Docket / Court 2:17-cv-01297 ( W.D. Wash. )
State/Territory Washington
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Attorney Organization Lambda Legal
Case Summary
On August 28, 2017, three transgender persons, either currently serving or hoping to serve in the military, along with two civil rights organizations, filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. The plaintiffs, represented by the Lambda Legal Defense and ... read more >
On August 28, 2017, three transgender persons, either currently serving or hoping to serve in the military, along with two civil rights organizations, filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. The plaintiffs, represented by the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, sued the President of the United States and the Secretary of Defense for violations of the Fifth Amendment's Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses, and the First Amendment Free Speech Clause for chilling their gender expressions. The plaintiffs alleged that the defendants’ federal policy of discriminating against transgender people regarding military service was unconstitutional and motivated by animus against transgender individuals. The plaintiffs accordingly sought a judgment declaring the federal ban against transgender servicemembers unconstitutional, a preliminary injunction barring the defendants from taking any action relative to transgender individuals, and attorneys’ fees. The plaintiffs also filed an amended complaint on September 14, 2017, adding four additional transgender individuals and a third civil rights organization.

The defendants moved to dismiss the complaint on October 16, 2017. 2017 WL 4685829. They alleged that the plaintiffs’ suit was premature because the President had issued a memorandum directing the Secretary of Defense to stay any actions until a policy review had been completed; the President had also stated in the memorandum that no policy changes to the current policy until at least March 2018. The defendants therefore alleged that the plaintiffs could not show that they would suffer irreparable harm absent a preliminary injunction because their harms were speculative at this stage.

On December 11, 2017, District Judge Marsha J. Pechman denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss the plaintiffs’ equal protection, substantive due process, and First Amendment claims, and granted the plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction; the preliminary injunction took effective immediately and was ordered to remain in effect until the suit was resolved. 2017 WL 6311305. On December 14, 2017, the State of Washington filed a complaint as an intervenor-plaintiff against the defendants in order to protect itself, its residents, and the Washington National Guard from the federal ban. That same day, the defendants appealed the grant of the preliminary injunction to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

On December 15, 2017, the defendants filed an emergency motion to the Ninth Circuit to stay the preliminary injunction, alleging that the injunction would impose irreparable harm on the defendants and general public by forcing the military to implement a service accession policy in a rushed timetable. However, the defendants soon withdrew their motion for a stay and obtained a voluntary dismissal of the case.

On March 23, 2018, White House released a new proposed plan, which would ban transgender people from serving openly in the U.S. Armed Services. On March 27, 2018 the plaintiffs argued that the new plan, too, was clearly unconstitutional.

On April 13, 2018, the court rejected the new plan.

On June 15, 2018, the court rejected a new stay motion, enabling transgender people to enlist in the military for the first time starting January 1, 2018.

Lisa Limb - 01/20/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Freedom of speech/association
Content of Injunction
Discrimination Prohibition
Other requirements regarding hiring, promotion, retention
Preliminary relief granted
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Discrimination-area
Discharge / Constructive Discharge / Layoff
Hiring
Discrimination-basis
Gender identity
General
Gay/lesbian/transgender
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
State Plaintiff
Causes of Action Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Defendant(s) President of the United States
U.S. Secretary of Defense
Plaintiff Description Transgender individuals, currently serving or hoping to serve in the military, and civil rights organizations.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Lambda Legal
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Source of Relief Litigation
Order Duration 2017 - n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  HRC Represented By Lambda Legal & OutServe-SLDN in Lawsuit Against Trump’s Trans Military Ban
HRC Represented By Lambda Legal & OutServe-SLDN in Lawsuit Against Trump’s Trans Military Ban
Date: Aug. 28, 2017
By: Guest Contributor (Human Rights Campaign)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
2:17-cv-01297-MJP (W.D. Wash.)
EE-WA-0131-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/29/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1]
EE-WA-0131-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/28/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 30]
EE-WA-0131-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/14/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Denying Defendants' Request for Stay of Proceedings [ECF# 98] (W.D. Wash.)
EE-WA-0131-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/20/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part Defendants' Motion to Dismiss [ECF# 103] (W.D. Wash.)
EE-WA-0131-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/11/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Complaint in Intervention by State of Washington for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 104]
EE-WA-0131-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/14/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Pechman, Marsha J. (W.D. Wash.)
EE-WA-0131-0003 | EE-WA-0131-0004 | EE-WA-0131-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Baker, La Rond (Washington)
EE-WA-0131-0005
Barsanti, Vanessa (Illinois)
EE-WA-0131-9000
Borelli, Tara Lynn (California)
EE-WA-0131-0001 | EE-WA-0131-0002 | EE-WA-0131-9000
Buchert, Sasha J. (California)
EE-WA-0131-0001 | EE-WA-0131-0002 | EE-WA-0131-9000
Charles, Carl (New York)
EE-WA-0131-0001 | EE-WA-0131-0002 | EE-WA-0131-9000
Davidson, Jon Warren (California)
EE-WA-0131-0001 | EE-WA-0131-0002 | EE-WA-0131-9000
Everett, Samantha (Washington)
EE-WA-0131-0002 | EE-WA-0131-9000
Ferguson, Robert W. (Washington)
EE-WA-0131-0005
Heinz, Jordan Mitchell (Illinois)
EE-WA-0131-0001 | EE-WA-0131-0002 | EE-WA-0131-9000
Hurst, James F. (Illinois)
EE-WA-0131-0001 | EE-WA-0131-0002 | EE-WA-0131-9000
Ingelhart, Kara N. (Illinois)
EE-WA-0131-0001 | EE-WA-0131-0002 | EE-WA-0131-9000
Lerner, Scott (Illinois)
EE-WA-0131-9000
Nardecchia, Natalie (California)
EE-WA-0131-0001 | EE-WA-0131-0002 | EE-WA-0131-9000
Newman, Derek Alan (Washington)
EE-WA-0131-0001 | EE-WA-0131-0002 | EE-WA-0131-9000
Perkowski, Peter E. (California)
EE-WA-0131-0001 | EE-WA-0131-0002 | EE-WA-0131-9000
Renn, Peter C. (California)
EE-WA-0131-0001 | EE-WA-0131-0002 | EE-WA-0131-9000
Siegfried, Daniel I. (Illinois)
EE-WA-0131-9000
Taylor, Camilla B. (Illinois)
EE-WA-0131-0001 | EE-WA-0131-0002 | EE-WA-0131-9000
Tyson, Joseph B. (Illinois)
EE-WA-0131-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Lucas, Gerald Brinton (District of Columbia)
EE-WA-0131-9000
Parker, Ryan B. (District of Columbia)
EE-WA-0131-9000
Other Lawyers Ewart, Michael J. (Washington)
EE-WA-0131-9000
Scott, Michael Ramsey (Washington)
EE-WA-0131-9000

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