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Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Stockman v. Trump EE-CA-0359
Docket / Court 5:17-cv-01799 ( C.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Special Collection Take Care
Attorney Organization GLAD (GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders)
National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR)
Case Summary
On September 5, 2017, three named and two anonymous transgender service members and a transgender rights nonprofit filed this lawsuit against the President of the United States, the Secretary of Defense, and other federal officials in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California ... read more >
On September 5, 2017, three named and two anonymous transgender service members and a transgender rights nonprofit filed this lawsuit against the President of the United States, the Secretary of Defense, and other federal officials in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The case was transferred to the Eastern District that same day. The plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief.

In June 2016, the Department of Defense (“DOD”) announced it would implement a new policy allowing transgender people to serve openly in the United States military. In reliance on this policy change, many transgender individuals came out to their chain of command without incident. On July 26, 2017, President Trump changed course, announcing on Twitter that the United States Government would no longer allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. The plaintiffs challenged the constitutionality of a directive issued by President Trump to the DOD and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on August 25, 2017 that formalized this policy. The directive required the departments to exclude transgender people from federal military service, ban the accession of transgender people into the U.S. military, and prohibit the funding of sex reassignment surgical procedures as part of health care for transgender service members. The plaintiffs sought a court declaration that the directive was unconstitutional as well as an injunction on the enforcement of the directive; they also sought attorney’s fees.

Specifically, the plaintiffs alleged that the defendants’ August 25, 2017 directive discriminated against the plaintiffs by excluding them from military service and denying them equal health benefits based on their sex and transgender status, in violation of the Equal Protection component of the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment. The plaintiffs argued that the discrimination was unconstitutional because it lacked a rational basis, was arbitrary, could not be justified by a rational government interest, and was not narrowly tailored to advance a compelling government interest. The plaintiffs also alleged that the directive would deprive the plaintiffs of their right to privacy and their protected interests in continued military service without any rational basis, in violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment. Finally, the plaintiffs alleged that the directive violated the plaintiffs’ rights of free speech and expression under the First Amendment by impermissibly restricting, punishing, and chilling speech that would identify the plaintiffs as transgender people.

On October 2, 2017, the plaintiffs filed a motion for a preliminary injunction on enforcement of the directive, alleging that enforcement would impose irreparable harm on the plaintiffs by violating their constitutional rights and by sending a damaging public message that transgender people are not fit to serve in the military. On October 23, 2017, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss the case for lack of jurisdiction and failure to state a claim.

On December 22, 2017, Judge Jesus G. Bernal denied the motion to dismiss and granted the preliminary injunction. The preliminary injunction enjoined the defendants from excluding individuals from military service on the basis that they are transgender; it also prohibited them from denying access to medically necessary treatment on a timely basis, or otherwise subjecting individuals to adverse treatment or differential terms of service on the basis that they are transgender.

The President issued a new memorandum on March 23, 2018 to revoke his August 25, 2017 memorandum and allow the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Homeland Security to implement a new policy. In light of the changed circumstances, the defendants filed a motion to dissolve the preliminary injunction on the same day. They claimed the challenge to the 2017 memorandum was moot because the new policy did not categorically exclude transgender individuals from military service, but only disqualified individuals with a certain medical condition. The plaintiffs filed an opposition on April 25, 2018 arguing that the new policy discriminated in the same way as its predecessor.

On September 18, 2018, Judge Bernal denied the defendants’ motion to dissolve the preliminary injunction. 331 F. Supp. 3d 990, 993 (C.D. Cal. 2018). The defendants appealed the decision to the Ninth Circuit on November 16, 2018. On December 19, 2018, the Ninth Circuit ordered that proceedings in the case be held in abeyance pending a decision in a related case, Karnoski v. Trump, also in this Clearinghouse.

In Karnoski v. Trump, also in this Clearinghouse, the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to grant a Trump administration request to lift injunctions blocking the policy while challenges continue in lower courts. This case is ongoing in district court.

Nina Cahill - 01/24/2018
Sichun Liu - 02/24/2019


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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
Preliminary relief granted
Discrimination-area
Other Conditions of Employment (including assignment, transfer, hours, working conditions, etc)
Pay / Benefits
Promotion
Discrimination-basis
Gender identity
Military status discrimination
Sex discrimination
Sexual orientatation
General
Gay/lesbian/transgender
Retaliation
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Defendant(s) President of the United States
Secretary of Defense
Plaintiff Description Three named and two anonymous transgender service members and a transgender rights nonprofit.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations GLAD (GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders)
National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR)
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-WA-0131 : Karnoski v. Trump (W.D. Wash.)
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
Docket(s)
5:17-cv-01799 (C.D. Cal.)
EE-CA-0359-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/15/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1]
EE-CA-0359-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/05/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Notice of Motion and Motion for Preliminary Injunction; Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support Thereof [ECF# 15]
EE-CA-0359-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/02/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendants' Notice of Motion and Motion to Dismiss; Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support of Defendants' Motion to Dismiss and in Opposition to Plaintiffs' Motion for a Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 36]
EE-CA-0359-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/23/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order (1) Denying Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure; and (2) Granting Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 79] (N.D. Cal.)
EE-CA-0359-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/22/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Declaration of Ryan B. Parker and Presidential Memorandum [ECF# 81]
EE-CA-0359-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/23/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Denying Defendants' Motion to Dissolve Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 124] (331 F.Supp.3d 990) (C.D. Cal.)
EE-CA-0359-0007.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 09/18/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Bernal, Jesus Gilberto (C.D. Cal.) show/hide docs
EE-CA-0359-0005 | EE-CA-0359-0007 | EE-CA-0359-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bonauto, Mary L. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
EE-CA-0359-9000
Levi, Jennifer (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
EE-CA-0359-9000
Minter, Shannon (California) show/hide docs
EE-CA-0359-9000
Monagas, Enrique Antonio (California) show/hide docs
EE-CA-0359-9000
O'Grady, Sharon L. (California) show/hide docs
EE-CA-0359-9000
Putnam, Marvin S. (California) show/hide docs
EE-CA-0359-0002 | EE-CA-0359-9000
Quartarolo, Amy Christine (California) show/hide docs
EE-CA-0359-0001 | EE-CA-0359-0002 | EE-CA-0359-9000
Sieff, Adam (California) show/hide docs
EE-CA-0359-0001 | EE-CA-0359-0002 | EE-CA-0359-9000
Whelan, Amy E. (California) show/hide docs
EE-CA-0359-9000
White, Harrison J. (California) show/hide docs
EE-CA-0359-0001 | EE-CA-0359-0002 | EE-CA-0359-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Carmichael, Andrew Evan (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-CA-0359-0004 | EE-CA-0359-9000
Coppolino, Anthony J. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-CA-0359-0004
Griffiths, John R. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-CA-0359-0004
Parker, Ryan B. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-CA-0359-0004 | EE-CA-0359-0006 | EE-CA-0359-9000
Readler, Chad A. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-CA-0359-0004
Shumate, Brett (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-CA-0359-0004
Skurnik, Matthew (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-CA-0359-9000
Other Lawyers Brysacz, Benjamin J. (California) show/hide docs
EE-CA-0359-9000
Champion, Douglas Martin (California) show/hide docs
EE-CA-0359-9000
Manning, Susan Baker (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-CA-0359-9000
Nadeau, Genevieve (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
EE-CA-0359-9000
Polito, John Anthony (California) show/hide docs
EE-CA-0359-9000
Rao, Devi M. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-CA-0359-9000
Wilkens, Scott B. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-CA-0359-9000

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