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Case Name Goninan v. Wash. Dep't of Corrections PC-WA-0032
Docket / Court 3:17-cv-05714 ( W.D. Wash. )
State/Territory Washington
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
Case Summary
The plaintiff was a trans woman housed in a men's prison in Washington State. She filed this suit pro se on September 5, 2017, but later became represented by the ACLU. In the most recent complaint, the named defendants were the Secretary of Washington Department of Correction, the Chief Medical ... read more >
The plaintiff was a trans woman housed in a men's prison in Washington State. She filed this suit pro se on September 5, 2017, but later became represented by the ACLU. In the most recent complaint, the named defendants were the Secretary of Washington Department of Correction, the Chief Medical Officer for DOC, the Chief of Psychiatry for DOC, and the Director of Mental Health for DOC in their official capacities. The case was assigned to Judge Benjamin H. Settle in the District Court for the Western District of Washington. She sued them under 42 U.S.C. 1983.

The plaintiff alleged that the failure of prison administration to provide her with medically necessary gender affirming treatment amounts to a violation of her rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. She requested injunctive relief requiring the defendants to provide her with adequate transition related care, to give her access to clothing and hygiene products consistent with her gender identity, and to transfer her to a women's facility.

While incarcerated, prison staff and administration denied the plaintiff access to transition-related care consistent with the WPATH standards. Due to a blanket DOC policy, the plaintiff had no access to surgical intervention despite medical necessity and her repeated requests. The prison employed a gender dysphoria consultant who supported the blanket ban on gender affirming surgery, however his guidance had been dismissed by courts in several lawsuits for being inconsistent with norms in the field and the WPATH standards. The plaintiff had also faced harassment from staff for her gender presentation, including verbal abuse and extensive time in solitary confinement.

Over the course of discovery, the plaintiff withdrew her request for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to make room for a motion on partial summary judgment that she filed on May 18, 2018. The plaintiff also sought sanctions against the defendants for allowing a doctor to ask questions of the plaintiff during a psychological evaluation, but this motion was denied on September 26, 2018. Judge Settle stated that, while the questions were inappropriate, the defendants did not direct the doctor to ask the questions, and there would be no further need for sanctions, since the psychological evaluation is complete.

On January 4, 2019, Judge Settle issued an opinion denying the plaintiff's motion for partial summary judgment, holding that the DOC policy regarding medical treatment for trans inmates was not unconstitutional on its face. On that date, he referred the matter to Magistrate Judge Richard Creatura. On April 15. 2019, in response, the ACLU amended the complaint.

During discovery under the amended complaint, the parties came to an agreement. This settlement agreement would allow the plaintiff to receive gender reassignment surgery if a medical examiner deemed it medically necessary. The plaintiff presented this settlement on March 20, 2020 through a motion to stay proceedings for 180 days in order to allow the settlement agreement to take place. Magistrate Judge Creatura approved the stay, and will check back in with the parties on September 9, 2020.

Alex Moody - 02/16/2020
Ellen Aldin - 05/26/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Equal Protection
Defendant-type
Corrections
Discrimination-basis
Gender identity
General
Conditions of confinement
Gay/lesbian/transgender
Totality of conditions
Medical/Mental Health
Medical care, general
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983
Defendant(s) Washington Department of Corrections
Plaintiff Description A trans woman housed in a men's prison on Washington State being denied gender affirming medical treatment.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se Yes
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Filed 10/27/2017
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)
Docket(s)
3:17-cv-05714 (W.D. Wash.)
PC-WA-0032-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/16/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 8]
PC-WA-0032-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/27/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Exhibits 1 through 7 of the Complaint [ECF# 8]
PC-WA-0032-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/27/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Exhibit 8 of the Complaint [ECF# 8]
PC-WA-0032-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/27/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Exhibits 9 and 10 of the Complaint [ECF# 8]
PC-WA-0032-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/27/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Exhibit 11 of the Complaint [ECF# 8]
PC-WA-0032-0010.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/27/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Exhibit 12 of the Complaint [ECF# 8]
PC-WA-0032-0011.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/27/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Report and Recommendation [ECF# 71]
PC-WA-0032-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/15/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration [ECF# 77]
PC-WA-0032-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/24/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Denying Protective Order and Denying Sanctions [ECF# 82] (2018 WL 4630205) (W.D. Wash.)
PC-WA-0032-0002.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 09/26/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Adopting Report and Recommendation and Referring to Magistrate Judge [ECF# 87] (2019 WL 102156) (W.D. Wash.)
PC-WA-0032-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 01/04/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Complain [ECF# 100]
PC-WA-0032-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/15/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulated Motion for Stay [ECF# 113]
PC-WA-0032-0012.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/12/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Creatura, John Richard Court not on record show/hide docs
PC-WA-0032-0001 | PC-WA-0032-0002 | PC-WA-0032-9000
Settle, Benjamin Hale (W.D. Wash.) show/hide docs
PC-WA-0032-0004 | PC-WA-0032-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Balson, Hank L. (Washington) show/hide docs
PC-WA-0032-0012 | PC-WA-0032-9000
Byers, Benjamin C. (Washington) show/hide docs
PC-WA-0032-0003 | PC-WA-0032-0012 | PC-WA-0032-9000
Davis, Antoinette Marie (Washington) show/hide docs
PC-WA-0032-0003 | PC-WA-0032-0005 | PC-WA-0032-0012 | PC-WA-0032-9000
Edwards, David B. (Washington) show/hide docs
PC-WA-0032-0005 | PC-WA-0032-9000
Markosova, Kristina (Washington) show/hide docs
PC-WA-0032-0003 | PC-WA-0032-0005 | PC-WA-0032-0012 | PC-WA-0032-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Dibble, Candie M. (Washington) show/hide docs
PC-WA-0032-0012 | PC-WA-0032-9000
Hunter, Ramona Noel (Washington) show/hide docs
PC-WA-0032-9000

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