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Case Name Stone v. Trump EE-MD-0151
Docket / Court 1:17-cv-02459-MJG ( D. Md. )
State/Territory Maryland
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Special Collection Take Care
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
Case Summary
On August 28, 2017, six transgender individuals currently serving in the United States military filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland. The plaintiffs sued the President of the United States and various Department of Defense officials, arguing that they ... read more >
On August 28, 2017, six transgender individuals currently serving in the United States military filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland. The plaintiffs sued the President of the United States and various Department of Defense officials, arguing that they had violated the plaintiffs' Fifth Amendment rights, in particular the Equal Protection clause and the Due Process clause. In an amended complaint, the plaintiffs also brought a cause of action under 10 U.S.C § 1074 which entitles military members to medical care benefits. The plaintiffs, represented by the ACLU of Maryland and private counsels, sought declaratory judgments stating the Transgender Service Member Ban violated Equal Protection clause and Due Process of by denying their ability to serve and denying them access to medical treatments previously provided by their military employment. They also sought an order to permanently enjoin the defendants from enforcing the Transgender Service Member Ban, in addition to attorney’s fees.

The plaintiffs comprised a group of transgender individuals that, under the Open Service Directive, publicly revealed their transgender status and were receiving medically necessary treatments related to their gender transition. The complaint alleged that President Trump’s memorandum entitled “Military Service by Transgender Individuals” set aside the Open Service Directive and replaced it with a policy that contained animus against transgender individuals. The complaint singled out the policy directives that rescinded protection against discharge of existing service members, banned new enlistments and commission, and banned medically necessary care. The plaintiffs claimed these directives directly violate their Fifth Amendment rights and discriminated against each of the plaintiffs and other service members who identified as transgender on the basis of sex.

On September 14, 2017, the plaintiffs filed for a preliminary injunction to enjoin the defendants from enforcing President Trump’s memorandum until final judgment was given on the case. On November 21, 2017, Judge Marvin Garbis granted the preliminary injunction because the plaintiffs were likely to succeed on their Equal Protection claims against the three policy directives and the claims under due process were sufficiently plausible to withstand dismissal. Judge Garbis also dismissed the plaintiffs' cause of action under 10 U.S.C § 1074 without prejudice. 280 F.Supp.3d 747.

The defendants filed an appeal against the preliminary injunction on December 6, 2017 to the Fourth Circuit and later filed a motion for clarification and stay in the appeals court and the district court. The motions for clarification and stay were denied in both courts. Following, the defendants filed a voluntary dismissal motion for their appeal of the preliminary injunction on December 29, 2017 and the court approved soon after.

Back in district court, the defendants filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings and motion to partially dissolve the preliminary injunction on March 1, 2018. The plaintiffs then filed a second amended complaint and removed the 10 U.S.C § 1074 claim on April 27.

On May 11, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction, and motion for summary judgment. On May 25, 2018, the plaintiffs filed a cross-motion for summary judgment.

In June of 2018, Judge Garvis retired, and the case was reassigned to Judge George Russell III on July 18, 2018.

On March 1, 2019, the defendants told the court that they would shortly file a petition for a writ of mandamus in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. The writ of mandamus would request the appellate court to direct the district court to stay its nationwide preliminary injunction of November 21, 2017 because the Supreme Court stayed two nationwide injunctions in two similar cases on January 22, 2019.

Judge Russell issued an opinion on the writ of mandamus on March 7, 2019. He stayed the preliminary injunction based on the Supreme Court's decision to stay a nationwide injunction on the transgender military ban in Stockman v. Trump and Karnoski v. Trump. The plaintiffs attempted to suspend the stay as it relates to their individual cases, but Judge Russell did not agree with this motion, because the Stockman and Karnoski decisions attempted the same argument, and the Supreme Court rebuffed it. 2019 WL 5697228.

The defendants filed a notice with the court on June 18, 2019 that the Ninth Circuit had issued an opinion regarding the stayed nationwide injunction on the transgender service ban in Karnoski v. Trump (for more on the Karnoski case, see here. In that opinion, the Ninth Circuit vacated the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington's order striking the motion to dissolve the preliminary injunction because the revised 2018 policy was significantly different from the 2017 guidance that inspired the injunction. The Ninth Circuit remanded the case to the district court to review if the revisions warranted dissolution of the preliminary injunction. Back in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, the defendants used this opinion to support their arguments put forth in their motions to dismiss and extend the stay of the preliminary injunction. In addition, the defendants moved for reconsideration of the motion to stay portions of discovery based on this opinion on June 27.

Judge Russell ruled on various outstanding motions on August 20, 2019. He granted the defendant's motion to dissolve the preliminary injunction, writing that while the 2018 policy makes serving in the military while transgender more difficult, the new policy is not a blanket ban like the one the injunction was intended to correct. Using a similar argument, Judge Russell dismissed all of the plaintiffs' claims related to the 2017 policy as moot. In addition, he found several of the current plaintiffs lack standing; the 2018 policy imposes restrictions on those seeking to join the military, not those that are already in, and many of the plaintiffs were already in the military. However, he refused to dismiss the plaintiff's equal protection claims, and allowed for discovery to continue on the issue. Similarly, he dismissed a motion for judgment on the pleadings, looking to further discovery to settle the issues. 400 F.Supp.3d 317.

Judge Russell turned to the defendant's motion for reconsideration on September 3, granting it in part and denying it in part. He denied the motion to stay discovery, saying that it would only be necessary if the defendants sought review at the Fourth Circuit, which they have not petitioned for at this time. However, he granted the motion for reconsideration on the level of deference various military documents found in discovery will be given. 402 F.Supp.3d 153.

After these discovery disputes were settled, the plaintiffs filed a third amended complaint on November 6, 2019. The new complaint amended the factual allegations section to account for new developments since the case started, focusing on stigmatic injuries associated with serving as a transgender service member.

Discovery in the case is ongoing.

Taylor Brook - 01/18/2018
Sichun Liu - 03/05/2019
Ellen Aldin - 06/24/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief granted
Discrimination-area
Discharge / Constructive Discharge / Layoff
Medical Exam / Inquiry
Discrimination-basis
Gender identity
Sex discrimination
General
Gay/lesbian/transgender
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Ex parte Young (federal or state officials)
Ex Parte Young (Federal) or Bivens
Defendant(s) President Donald Trump
Plaintiff Description 6 Transgender Military Service Members
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Source of Relief Litigation
Order Duration 2017 - 2019
Filed 08/28/2017
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  ACLU page on Stone v. Trump
Date: Jan. 19, 2018
By: ACLU
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
1:17-cv-2459 (D. Md.)
EE-MD-0151-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/21/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1]
EE-MD-0151-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/28/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 39]
EE-MD-0151-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/14/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 84] (D. Md.)
EE-MD-0151-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/21/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum and Order Re: Motions [ECF# 85] (D. Md.)
EE-MD-0151-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/21/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order
EE-MD-0151-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/21/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum & Order Re: Clarification [ECF# 101] (D. Md.)
EE-MD-0151-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/28/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Complaint [ECF# 148]
EE-MD-0151-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/27/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 249] (2019 WL 5697228) (D. Md.)
EE-MD-0151-0008.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 03/07/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendants' Notice of Supplemental Authority [ECF# 255]
EE-MD-0151-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/18/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion [ECF# 263] (400 F.Supp.3d 317) (D. Md.)
EE-MD-0151-0010.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 08/20/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion [ECF# 267] (402 F.Supp.3d 153) (D. Md.)
EE-MD-0151-0011.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 09/03/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Third Amended Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 284]
EE-MD-0151-0012.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/06/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Copperthite, A. David Court not on record [Magistrate] show/hide docs
EE-MD-0151-9000
Diaz, Albert (Fourth Circuit) show/hide docs
EE-MD-0151-0006
Garbis, Marvin J. (D. Md.) show/hide docs
EE-MD-0151-0003 | EE-MD-0151-0004 | EE-MD-0151-0005
Harris, Pamela Ann (Fourth Circuit) show/hide docs
EE-MD-0151-0006
Motz, Diana Jane Gribbon (Fourth Circuit) show/hide docs
EE-MD-0151-0006
Russell, George Levi III (D. Mass., D. Md.) show/hide docs
EE-MD-0151-0008 | EE-MD-0151-0010 | EE-MD-0151-0011 | EE-MD-0151-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Andrews−Lee, Mark E (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-MD-0151-0012 | EE-MD-0151-9000
Block, Joshua A (New York) show/hide docs
EE-MD-0151-0012 | EE-MD-0151-9000
Bozman, Jeffrey Todd (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Cooper, Leslie (New York) show/hide docs
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Corwin, Carolyn Frances (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Esseks, James Dixon (New York) show/hide docs
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Golden, Augustus (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Gupta, Rishi R (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Hanson, Christopher Justin (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Huberman, Jeffrey (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Jeon, Deborah A. (Maryland) show/hide docs
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Kamin, Mitchell A. (California) show/hide docs
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Kies, Marianne F. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Komorowski, Peter John III (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Lampros, Nicholas Monroe (California) show/hide docs
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Lynch, Mark H. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Martinez Resly, Jaclyn E. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Plotkin, Thomas Ian (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Rocah, David Robert (Maryland) show/hide docs
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Roselman, Joshua D (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-MD-0151-0012 | EE-MD-0151-9000
Strangio, Chase (New York) show/hide docs
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Sunderland, Sara (California) show/hide docs
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Zionts, David M. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Defendant's Lawyers Carmichael, Andrew Evan (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-MD-0151-0009
Cheung, Ashley (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-MD-0151-9000
Coppolino, Anthony J. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Enlow, Courtney (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-MD-0151-0009 | EE-MD-0151-9000
Gerardi, Michael J. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Hunt, Joseph H. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Parker, Ryan B. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Spector, Phil (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
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Other Lawyers Colb, Sara A. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
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Rosenberg, Jeffrey Saul (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-MD-0151-9000
Spector, Phillip Michael (Maryland) show/hide docs
EE-MD-0151-9000

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