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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
Special Collection Take Care
Attorney Organization Lambda Legal
Case Summary
On August 28, 2017, three transgender individuals, 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 ... read more >
On August 28, 2017, three transgender individuals, 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 (Donald Trump) and the Secretary of Defense for alleged violations of the Fifth Amendment's Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses, and the First Amendment Free Speech Clause. The plaintiffs alleged that the defendants’ federal policy banning transgender individuals from serving in the military was unconstitutional and motivated by animus against transgender people. The plaintiffs accordingly sought a judgment declaring the federal ban unconstitutional, a preliminary injunction barring the defendants from taking any action against 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. They alleged that the plaintiffs’ suit was premature because the President had issued a memorandum directing the Secretary of Defense to halt any actions until a policy review had been completed. The President had also stated in the memorandum that no changes to the current policy were to be made 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 effect immediately and was ordered to remain in effect until the suit was resolved. 2017 WL 6311305. On December 14, 2017, 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 on December 30th they voluntarily dismissed the appeal.

Meanwhile, on December 14, 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.

On January 25th, 2018, the plaintiffs and the State of Washington filed motions for summary judgement. On February 12, 2018, the defendants responded with a motion arguing that they were entitled to conduct discovery before summary judgement. On February 21, 2018, the defendants' motion was denied. 2018 WL 993973. On February 28, 2018, the defendants filed a cross motion for partial summary judgement and an opposition to the plaintiffs’ and intervenor’s motion for summary judgement.

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. Based on this new plan, the defendants moved to dissolve the preliminary injunction. On March 27, 2018, the plaintiffs argued that the new plan, too, was clearly unconstitutional.

On April 13, 2018, the district court rejected the new plan and ordered that the preliminary injunction remain in effect. 2018 WL 1784464. The court also granted in part and denied in part all motions and cross-motions for summary judgement. Specifically, the court denied summary judgment as to plaintiffs’ and Washington’s equal protection, due process, and First Amendment claims. The court granted the plaintiffs’ and Washington’s motions for summary judgment with respect to the applicable level of scrutiny (strict scrutiny). As the Court said in its order, "This means that before Defendants can implement the Ban, they must show that it was sincerely motivated by compelling interests, rather than by prejudice or stereotype, and that it is narrowly tailored to achieve those interests." The Court also refused to dismiss President Trump from the case, allowing the plaintiff and Washington's claims for declaratory relief to move forward against him.

On November 27, 2018, the defendants filed a petition for a writ of certiorari to the Supreme Court, asking the Court to directly review the District Court's preliminary injunction. The Supreme Court stayed the December 11 order granting the preliminary injunction while the appeal to the Ninth Circuit was pending. 139 S.Ct. 950.

On March 8, 2019 the defendants notified the court of the Maryland District Court’s decision in Stone v. Trump to stay the same preliminary injunction. The defendants stated their intent to implement the policy via a Directive-type Memorandum, which the Secretary of Defense released on March 12, 2019.

By the spring of 2019, the Ninth Circuit had still not ruled on the Mandamus Petition, so the district court rescheduled the original trial deadlines. As of April 10, 2019, the parties are awaiting a decision at the Ninth Circuit.

Lisa Limb - 01/20/2018
Anna Brito - 12/05/2018
Erica Lignell - 04/10/2019


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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
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Source of Relief Litigation
Filing Year 2017
Case Ongoing Yes
Case Listing EE-CA-0359 : Stockman v. Trump (C.D. Cal.)
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  Directive Implementing Trump Transgender Military Ban
Executive Services Directorate
Date: Mar. 12, 2019
By: Department of Defense
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  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: 03/11/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Washington's Motion for Summary Judgment [ECF# 150]
EE-WA-0131-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/25/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
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]
Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment [ECF# 129]
EE-WA-0131-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/25/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendants' Rule 56 (d) Response to Plaintiffs' and Intervenor's Motions for Summary Judgment [ECF# 178]
EE-WA-0131-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/12/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendants' Opposition to Plaintiffs' and Intervenor's Motions for Summary Judgment and Cross-Motion for Partial Summary Judgment [ECF# 194]
EE-WA-0131-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/28/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part Plaintiffs' and Washington's Motions for Summary Judgment; Granting in Part and Denying in Part Defendants' Motion for Partial Summary Judgment [ECF# 233] (2018 WL 1784464) (W.D. Wash.)
EE-WA-0131-0010.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 04/13/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Denying Motion to Stay Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 283] (W.D. Wash.)
EE-WA-0131-0011.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/15/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Pechman, Marsha J. (W.D. Wash.) show/hide docs
EE-WA-0131-0003 | EE-WA-0131-0004 | EE-WA-0131-0010 | EE-WA-0131-0011 | EE-WA-0131-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Baker, La Rond (Washington) show/hide docs
EE-WA-0131-0005 | EE-WA-0131-0007
Barsanti, Vanessa (Illinois) show/hide docs
EE-WA-0131-0006 | EE-WA-0131-9000
Borelli, Tara Lynn (California) show/hide docs
EE-WA-0131-0001 | EE-WA-0131-0002 | EE-WA-0131-9000
Buchert, Sasha J. (California) show/hide docs
EE-WA-0131-0001 | EE-WA-0131-0002 | EE-WA-0131-0006 | EE-WA-0131-9000
Charles, Carl (New York) show/hide docs
EE-WA-0131-0001 | EE-WA-0131-0002 | EE-WA-0131-0006 | EE-WA-0131-9000
Davidson, Jon Warren (California) show/hide docs
EE-WA-0131-0001 | EE-WA-0131-0002 | EE-WA-0131-9000
Everett, Samantha (Washington) show/hide docs
EE-WA-0131-0002 | EE-WA-0131-0006 | EE-WA-0131-9000
Ferguson, Robert W. (Washington) show/hide docs
EE-WA-0131-0005 | EE-WA-0131-0007
Heinz, Jordan Mitchell (Illinois) show/hide docs
EE-WA-0131-0001 | EE-WA-0131-0002 | EE-WA-0131-9000
Hurst, James F. (Illinois) show/hide docs
EE-WA-0131-0001 | EE-WA-0131-0002 | EE-WA-0131-0006 | EE-WA-0131-9000
Ingelhart, Kara N. (Illinois) show/hide docs
EE-WA-0131-0001 | EE-WA-0131-0002 | EE-WA-0131-0006 | EE-WA-0131-9000
Lerner, Scott (Illinois) show/hide docs
EE-WA-0131-0006 | EE-WA-0131-9000
Nardecchia, Natalie (California) show/hide docs
EE-WA-0131-0001 | EE-WA-0131-0002 | EE-WA-0131-0006 | EE-WA-0131-9000
Newman, Derek Alan (Washington) show/hide docs
EE-WA-0131-0001 | EE-WA-0131-0002 | EE-WA-0131-0006 | EE-WA-0131-9000
Perkowski, Peter E. (California) show/hide docs
EE-WA-0131-0001 | EE-WA-0131-0002 | EE-WA-0131-0006 | EE-WA-0131-9000
Renn, Peter C. (California) show/hide docs
EE-WA-0131-0001 | EE-WA-0131-0002 | EE-WA-0131-0006 | EE-WA-0131-9000
Siegfried, Daniel I. (Illinois) show/hide docs
EE-WA-0131-0006 | EE-WA-0131-9000
Taylor, Camilla B. (Illinois) show/hide docs
EE-WA-0131-0001 | EE-WA-0131-0002 | EE-WA-0131-0006 | EE-WA-0131-9000
Tyson, Joseph B. (Illinois) show/hide docs
EE-WA-0131-0006 | EE-WA-0131-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Carmichael, Andrew Evan (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-WA-0131-9000
Gardner, Joshua Edward (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-WA-0131-9000
Lucas, Gerald Brinton (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-WA-0131-9000
Parker, Ryan B. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-WA-0131-0008 | EE-WA-0131-0009 | EE-WA-0131-9000
Other Lawyers Ainsworth, Sara (Washington) show/hide docs
EE-WA-0131-9000
Beane, Amanda J. (Washington) show/hide docs
EE-WA-0131-9000
Chamberlain, Katherine (Washington) show/hide docs
EE-WA-0131-9000
Ewart, Michael J. (Washington) show/hide docs
EE-WA-0131-9000
Gans, David H. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-WA-0131-9000
Gorod, Brianne J. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-WA-0131-9000
Khanna, Abha (Washington) show/hide docs
EE-WA-0131-9000
Parr, Kimberly A. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
EE-WA-0131-9000
Phatak, Ashwin A. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-WA-0131-9000
Scott, Michael Ramsey (Washington) show/hide docs
EE-WA-0131-9000
Sepe, Cristina (Washington) show/hide docs
EE-WA-0131-9000
Shaeffer, Joseph R. (Washington) show/hide docs
EE-WA-0131-9000
Stafford, William B (Washington) show/hide docs
EE-WA-0131-9000
Staniar, Lauren Watts (Washington) show/hide docs
EE-WA-0131-9000
Stone, Lisa M. (Washington) show/hide docs
EE-WA-0131-9000
Wydra, Elizabeth B. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-WA-0131-9000

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