Case: PFLAG v. Abbott

D-1-GN-22-02569 | Texas state trial court

Filed Date: June 8, 2022

Case Ongoing

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On February 18, 2022, the Texas Attorney General issued Opinion No. KP-0401, finding that gender-affirming care, including gender-confirmation surgeries and hormone-replacement therapy, was child abuse as defined by the Texas Family Code § 261.001(1)(A). The section defines "abuse" as mental, emotional, or physical injuries that harm a "child's growth, development, or psychological functioning." Citing this opinion, on February 22, 2022, the Governor of Texas directed the state Department of Fa…

On February 18, 2022, the Texas Attorney General issued Opinion No. KP-0401, finding that gender-affirming care, including gender-confirmation surgeries and hormone-replacement therapy, was child abuse as defined by the Texas Family Code § 261.001(1)(A). The section defines "abuse" as mental, emotional, or physical injuries that harm a "child's growth, development, or psychological functioning." Citing this opinion, on February 22, 2022, the Governor of Texas directed the state Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) to investigate parents who provide gender-affirming care to their children as potential child abusers. The Governor also said that certain mandatory reporters such as medical providers and teachers, as well as the general public, were potentially subject to criminal penalties for failure to report gender-affirming care as child abuse. In response to the governor's directive, DFPS began investigating multiple families of transgender children.

This case, filed in Travis County district court on June 8, 2022, on behalf of PFLAG National and three Texas families by Lambda Legal, the ACLU, the ACLU of Texas, and private counsel, challenges the actions of the Governor, DFPS, and the DFPS Commissioner. Plaintiffs alleged that collectively Defendants' actions violate the state's Administrative Procedure Act, the separation of powers provided for in the Texas Constitution, and the equality and due process protections enshrined in the Texas Constitution. Plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief to preserve the status quo and bar the state from implementing or enforcing the new rule regarding the definition of child abuse. The case was assigned to District Judge Amy Clark Meachum.

The district court issued an order on June 10, 2022, granting Plaintiffs' request for temporary relief. 2022 WL 3040297. The temporary restraining order enjoined and restrained DFPS from implementing or enforcing its new rule or implementing the Governor's letter or the Attorney General's opinion with respect to Plaintiffs and other PFLAG members. The order also required DFPS to immediately cease any intake, investigation, or assessment into child abuse based solely on allegations that a minor child has received gender-affirming care upon learning that the person reported for abuse is a PFLAG member. On July 8, 2022, the district court issued a temporary injunction on behalf of two of the Plaintiff families. 2022 WL 4549010. That same day, Defendants filed a notice of appeal with Texas's Third Court of Appeals, which, under the Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure, has the effect of suspending the district court's order. The affected Plaintiff families filed an emergency motion to reinstate the injunction, which the appellate court granted on July 20, 2022. 2022 WL 2836816.

The district court then issued on September 16, 2022 another temporary injunction--this one on behalf of PFLAG and the remaining Plaintiff family. 2022 WL 4549009. This injunction covered the remaining family, as well as PFLAG member families in Texas who were not named plaintiffs. Defendants again appealed, and the appellate court issued an opinion on September 20th granting Plaintiffs' motion to reinstate the injunction. 2022 WL 4359561.

On November 4, 2022, Defendants filed a Plea to the Jurisdiction, challenging the district court's authority to hear the case and seeking dismissal. On March 29, 2024, the appellate court issued an opinion affirming the dual temporary injunctions, holding that the trial court had jurisdiction and properly exercised its discretion in issuing the injunctions. 2024 WL 1340855.

The case is ongoing as of April 2024.

Summary Authors

Logan Moore (4/11/2024)

Related Cases

Doe v. Abbott, Texas state trial court (2022)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

D-1-GN-22-02569

Docket

Voe v. Abbott

June 8, 2022

June 8, 2022

Docket

03-22-00420-CV

Docket

Masters v. Minor

Texas state appellate court

July 15, 2022

July 15, 2022

Docket

03-22-00587-CV

Docket

Masters v. Minor

Texas state appellate court

Sept. 16, 2022

Sept. 16, 2022

Docket

D-1-GN-22-02569

Plaintiffs' Original Petition, Application for Temporary Restraining Order, Temporary and Permanent Injunction, and Request for Declaratory Relief

PFLAG v. Abbot

June 8, 2022

June 8, 2022

Complaint

D-1-GN-22-02569

Temporary Restraining Order

PFLAG v. Abbot

June 10, 2022

June 10, 2022

Order/Opinion

D-1-GN-22-02569

Order Granting Plaintiffs' Voes' and Roes' Applications for Temporary Injunction Against Jamie Masters, in Her Official Capacity as the Commissioner of Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services

PLAG Inc. v. Abbott

July 8, 2022

July 8, 2022

Order/Opinion

2022 WL 2022

03-22-00420-CV

Order

PFLAG Inc. v. Abbott

Texas state appellate court

July 20, 2022

July 20, 2022

Order/Opinion

2022 WL 2022

D-1-GN-22-02569

Order Granting Pflag, Inc.'s and the Briggle Plaintiffs' Application for Temporary Injunction

PFLAG Inc. v. Abbott

Sept. 16, 2022

Sept. 16, 2022

Order/Opinion

2022 WL 2022

03-22-00420-CV

Order

Masters v. Voe

Texas state appellate court

Sept. 20, 2022

Sept. 20, 2022

Order/Opinion

2022 WL 2022

03-22-00420-CV

Order

Masters v. PFLAG Inc.

Texas state appellate court

Sept. 26, 2022

Sept. 26, 2022

Order/Opinion

2022 WL 2022

Resources

Docket

Last updated Aug. 30, 2023, 1:34 p.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: Texas

Case Type(s):

Child Welfare

Key Dates

Filing Date: June 8, 2022

Case Ongoing: Yes

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

A group of three transgender children and their families.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

ACLU National (all projects)

ACLU Affiliates (any)

Lambda Legal

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

Department of State Health Services, State

Governor of Texas, State

Defendant Type(s):

Jurisdiction-wide

Case Details

Causes of Action:

State law

Available Documents:

Complaint (any)

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Defendant

Nature of Relief:

Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order

Source of Relief:

Litigation

Content of Injunction:

Preliminary relief granted

Position Restored

Discrimination Prohibition

Issues

General/Misc.:

Family abuse and neglect

Discrimination Basis:

Gender identity

Affected Sex/Gender(s):

Transgender

LGBTQ+:

LGBTQ+

Medical/Mental Health Care:

Medical care, unspecified