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Case Name Ray v. Ohio Department of Health PB-OH-0011
Docket / Court 2:18-cv-00272-MHW-CMV ( S.D. Ohio )
State/Territory Ohio
Case Type(s) Public Benefits / Government Services
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
Case Summary
On March 29, 2018, four transgender persons filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. The plaintiffs sued the Director of the Ohio Department of Health under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Represented by the ACLU, the plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief as ... read more >
On March 29, 2018, four transgender persons filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. The plaintiffs sued the Director of the Ohio Department of Health under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Represented by the ACLU, the plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief as well as attorneys’ fees and costs. The case was assigned to Judge Michael H. Watson.

The plaintiffs brought this action to correct their Ohio birth certificates to accurately reflect their gender identity. They wished to change their birth certificates to avoid discrimination, privacy invasions, harassment, humiliation, stigma, harm to their health, and violence. The plaintiffs claimed that, in barring transgender people from obtaining accurate birth certificates matching their gender identity, the defendant had violated federal constitutional guarantees, including the rights to equal protection, due process, and freedom from compelled speech.

On July 6, 2019, defendants filed a motion to dismiss due to failure to state a claim, arguing that the plaintiff’s claim did not state a true violation of the U.S. Constitution. Specifically, the defendants argued that birth certificates purely express sex and not gender identity under Ohio statutes; the plaintiffs failed to properly state a claim of due process violation; and that preventing birth certificate changes served state interests.

Following this, on July 21, 2018, the defendants filed a motion to stay discovery until their motion to dismiss had been resolved. The defendants argued that the plaintiffs were already serving overly broad discovery requests at the expense of taxpayer money for a case that was primarily legal in nature, despite the fact that a successful motion to dismiss would resolve most actions in this case. The defendants argued that in the interests of saving resources, a stay of discovery should be ordered until a decision on their motion had been finalized.

On October 10, 2018 the district court judge denied the defendant’s motion to stay discovery, citing that a “garden-variety” motion to dismiss, such as the one submitted by the defendants, was not sufficient grounds to stay discovery. 2018 WL 4907080. Nearly a year later, on September 12, 2019, the judge denied the defendant’s motion to dismiss. Specifically, the judge found that Ohio statutes were not clear on whether a transgender individual could obtain a birth certificate change, violations of due process were properly alleged, and that the argument that preventing birth certificate changes served a state interest lacked merit.

As of October 31, 2019 this case is ongoing.

Jake Parker - 06/11/2018
Carter Powers Beggs - 10/31/2019


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Defendant-type
Hospital/Health Department
Discrimination-basis
Gender identity
General
Classification / placement
Drivers Licenses
Gay/lesbian/transgender
Government Services (specify)
Record-keeping
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Defendant(s) The State of Ohio
Plaintiff Description Four transgender persons who sought to change their Ohio birth certificates to reflect their gender identity.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filing Year 2018
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)
Docket(s)
2:18-cv-272 (S.D. Ohio)
PB-OH-0011-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/26/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
PB-OH-0011-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/29/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion and Order [ECF# 31] (2018 WL 4907080) (S.D. Ohio)
PB-OH-0011-0002.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 10/10/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion and Order [ECF# 47] (S.D. Ohio)
PB-OH-0011-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/12/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Vascura, Chelsey M. Court not on record [Magistrate] show/hide docs
PB-OH-0011-0002
Watson, Michael H. (S.D. Ohio) show/hide docs
PB-OH-0011-0003 | PB-OH-0011-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Arkles, Gabriel (New York) show/hide docs
PB-OH-0011-0001 | PB-OH-0011-9000
Becker, Susan Jane (Ohio) show/hide docs
PB-OH-0011-0001 | PB-OH-0011-9000
Bonham, Elizabeth (Ohio) show/hide docs
PB-OH-0011-0001 | PB-OH-0011-9000
Carey, David J (Ohio) show/hide docs
PB-OH-0011-0001 | PB-OH-0011-9000
Ingelhart, Kara N. (Illinois) show/hide docs
PB-OH-0011-9000
Knight, John A. (Illinois) show/hide docs
PB-OH-0011-0001 | PB-OH-0011-9000
Levenson, Freda J. (Ohio) show/hide docs
PB-OH-0011-0001 | PB-OH-0011-9000
Renn, Peter C. (California) show/hide docs
PB-OH-0011-0001 | PB-OH-0011-9000
Roach, Jennifer S. (Ohio) show/hide docs
PB-OH-0011-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Appel, Henry G (Ohio) show/hide docs
PB-OH-0011-9000
Blake, Jason J. (Ohio) show/hide docs
PB-OH-0011-9000
Lucas, Albert J. (Ohio) show/hide docs
PB-OH-0011-9000
Moses, Kimberly (Ohio) show/hide docs
PB-OH-0011-9000

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