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Case Name Carcaño v. McCrory PA-NC-0002
Docket / Court 1:16-cv-00236 ( M.D. N.C. )
State/Territory North Carolina
Case Type(s) Public Accomm./Contracting
Special Collection Transgender Bathroom Access Cases
Attorney Organization ACLU Affiliates (any)
Lambda Legal
Case Summary
This is one of several federal lawsuits addressing North Carolina Session Law 2016-3, House Bill 2 (“H.B. 2”), which was passed in March 23, 2016. For the others, see the related cases section below.

On February 22, 2016, the Charlotte City Council passed Ordinance 7056, which ... read more >
This is one of several federal lawsuits addressing North Carolina Session Law 2016-3, House Bill 2 (“H.B. 2”), which was passed in March 23, 2016. For the others, see the related cases section below.

On February 22, 2016, the Charlotte City Council passed Ordinance 7056, which prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in public accommodations, passenger vehicle for hire, and city contractors. The city ordinance was set to take effect on April 1, 2016.

In response, on March 23, 2016, the North Carolina legislature held a special session and passed House Bill 2; it was signed that same day by North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory. HB2 prohibited municipalities in North Carolina from enacting antidiscrimination policies and removed the statutory and common law private right of action to enforce state antidiscrimination statutes in state courts. It also required that, in government buildings, individuals only be permitted to use restrooms and changing facilities that corresponded to the sex on their birth certificates. For many transgender people, this prevented them from using the restroom consistent with their gender identity. (In North Carolina, only people who undergo sex reassignment surgery can change the sex on their birth certificates; some other jurisdictions have even more restrictive rules.) In addition, the legislation changed the definition of sex in the state's antidiscrimination law to "the physical condition of being male or female, which is stated on a person's birth certificate,” which prevented discrimination against transgender people from being classified as a type of sex discrimination.

On March 28, 2016, the ACLU and the Lambda Legal Defense Fund filed this complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, challenging the constitutionality and legality of HB2 under federal law. They sued under 42 U.S.C § 1983 and Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972. Several transgender individuals, lesbian couples, the North Carolina Chapter of the ACLU, and the non-profit organization Equality North Carolina were the plaintiffs. They asked the court to declare most of HB2 unconstitutional or illegal under Title IX of the Educational Amendments Act of 1972; enjoin North Carolina from enforcing the illegal portions of HB2; and award plaintiffs costs, expenses, and attorneys’ fees. They also sought separate injunctive relief requiring the State of North Carolina to allow individuals to use single-sex facilities in accordance with their gender identity in public buildings, and requiring the state to allow local governments in North Carolina to enact and enforce antidiscrimination protections for LGBT people.

On May 25, 2016, Philip Berger, the President pro tempore of the North Carolina Senate, and Tim Moore, the Speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives, moved to intervene as defendants. The Court granted the motion on June 3, 2016.

One of the defendants, the University of North Carolina, also asked the judge to stay proceedings against them pending the final resolution of the cases G.G v. Gloucester School Board and United States v. North Carolina. The G.G. case, ED-VA-0002 in this Clearinghouse, was a Virginia case where a transgender student's high school denied him access to multi-occupancy, gender-segregated facilities that matched his gender identity. That case made it to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, where the court found that the district court judge had erred both in his refusal to consider evidence favoring the plaintiff when he denied their motion for preliminary injunctive relief, and in his failure to give deference to the DOE’s interpretation of Title IX when granting the defendants’ motion for summary judgment. The Circuit then remanded the case to the district court judge, who granted a preliminary injunction. United States v. North Carolina is a case filed by the U.S. Department of Justice against the State of North Carolina in which the DOJ made many of the same legal arguments made by the plaintiffs in this case, which was also in an early stage of litigation.

On August 26, 2016, the court granted in part and denied in part the plaintiffs' motion for preliminary injunction. Judge Thomas D. Schroeder concluded that the individual plaintiffs suing under Title IX were likely to succeed on the merits, so he granted the injunction with respect to that claim. The court was unconvinced, however, that the plaintiffs would win on their Equal Protection claims and also reserved ruling on the Due Process claims until further briefing. 203 F.Supp.3d 615. On August 29, 2016 the plaintiffs filed an interlocutory appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit from the order denying in part their motion for preliminary injunction.

On November 21, 2016, the plaintiffs filed a third amended complaint that included a claim under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in addition to the Title IX, Due Process, and Equal Protection claims. On December 16, 2016, Judge Schroeder granted a motion for a stay of proceedings until G.G. has been decided by the Supreme Court.

On January 1, 2017, Roy Cooper assumed the office of Governor of North Carolina. During his victory speech, then Governor-Elect Cooper stated his intention to repeal HB 2. The Supreme Court vacated and remanded G.G. back to the Fourth Circuit on March 6, 2017, in light of the DOE and DOJ's release of new interpretations of Title IX in February of 2017.

Shortly thereafter, the North Carolina Legislature and newly elected Governor Roy Cooper enacted House Bill 142 which, among other things, repealed HB2. The repeal included a compromise that left many on both sides unhappy. It prevented municipalities from passing antidiscrimination laws until December 2020 and the legislature maintained the ability to regulate bathrooms.

On April 24, 2017, Judge Motz on the Fourth Circuit dismissed the interlocutory appeal of August 26, 2016. On May 2, 2017, Judge Schroeder lifted the preliminary injunction of August 26, 2016 with the agreement of all parties, because House Bill 142 effectively repealed the law at issue in the Court’s prior order.

On September 7, 2017 the plaintiffs submitted a fourth amended complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief and nominal damages challenging the constitutionality of House Bill 142. The plaintiffs alleged that the law was promoted as a repeal of HB 2 to attract business back to North Carolina but only passed through the General Assembly because, like HB 2, it continued to discriminate against transgender individuals with respect to the use of single-sex, multiple-user facilities, and continued to bar local government protections for LGBT people. The complaint quoted multiple NC lawmakers who publicly stated that HB 2’s bathroom ban, remained an integral part of HB 142. The complaint further alleged the harms that were of concern in HB 2 remained a concern in HB 142.

On October 18, 2017 the plaintiffs and Executive Branch defendants entered a joint motion of consent decree; the decree stated that the Executive Branch was enjoined from taking certain specified actions under Section 2 of H.B. 142 and, with respect to public facilities that were subject to the Executive Branch Defendants’ control or supervision, HB 142 did not prevent transgender people from using the bathroom that aligned with their gender identity. Both parties submitted memorandum in support of the joint motion for consent decree.

On October 23, 2017, intervenors and the University of North Carolina defendants submitted motions to dismiss the plaintiffs’ claims for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. On November 2, 2017, the intervenor defendants asked the court to extend the time for the parties to respond to the consent decree, in light of the motion to dismiss claims. Judge Schroeder ordered the extension of 30 days following the date of the court’s disposition of the pending motions to dismiss the plaintiffs’ fourth amended complaint. After several extensions, UNC’s motion to dismiss the fourth amended complaint for failure to state a claim was submitted to Judge Thomas D. Schroeder on January 17, 2018.

Judge Schroeder granted in part and denied in part the motions to dismiss. The court found that the plaintiffs lacked standing as to their substantive due process, Title IX and Title VII claims based on alleged legal uncertainty caused by HB142 but did have standing to pursue their equal protection claims relating to the preemption provisions of Sections 2 and 3, except as to the claims against the President of the UNC. The court declined to dismiss the contingent claims involving HB2 and reserved ruling on the nominal damages claims for alleged Title VII and IX violations during the time HB2 was in effect. The court found that Plaintiffs failed to state a claim based on Section 2 of HB2 but succeeded in stating a claim based on Section 3. Thus, the court dismissed claims 1, 2, 6, and 7 against UNC without prejudice but sustained claims 3, 4, and 5. The court dismissed claims 1 and 2 against the intervenor-defendants without prejudice, but allowed the equal protection claim in count 2 to survive as well as claims 3, 4, and 5.

On December 21, 2018, the plaintiffs and the Executive Branch defendants filed a joint motion for entry of a consent decree. The consent decree provided that nothing in HB142 could be construed to prevent transgender people from lawfully using public facilities in accordance with their gender identity and permanently enjoined the Executive Branch defendants in their official capacities, and all successors, officers, and employees, from taking certain specified actions under Section 2 of H.B. 142 as well as forbidding Executive Branch Defendants from enforcing Section 3 to restrict any local government from interpreting other existing laws as protecting against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. The parties agreed to each bear their own fees, expenses, and costs and to dismiss all remaining claims against the Executive Branch defendants with prejudice. The intervenor-defendants opposed the joint motion for a consent decree, believing that it manufactured relief for dismissed claims that the Court lacked jurisdiction over, and that it did not reflect a true settlement of legal conflict, but rather was an effort to obtain a political result from the court that they could not achieve through electoral means.

On May 20, 2019, the court stayed the remaining proceedings regarding the Title VII and Title IX claims pending the outcome of the Supreme Court's decision in Bostock v. Clayton County (140 S.Ct. 1731), a case from Georgia challenging whether the definition of "sex discrimination" under Title VII necessarily included discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Meanwhile, the parties submitted a joint motion for a consent decree on May 31, which was entered as a judgement on July 23, 2019. This consent decree was substantially similar to the one described above.

Bostock was decided on June 15, 2020. The Court ruled that Title VII did prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation. Justice Gorsuch's majority opinion reasoned that it constituted discrimination on the basis of sex by accepting conduct by behavior by members of one sex as acceptable while not for another.

Back in the district court, the court ordered on December 17, 2020, that the parties meet and confer on the remaining claims with the Bostock ruling in mind. The parties sought additional time to finalize their agreement and asked that the stay be extended through early 2021. On March 11, 2021, the parties entered a joint stipulation to dismiss the remaining claims with prejudice.

The case is now closed.

Ryan Berry - 06/16/2016
Salvatore Mancina - 03/27/2017
Mary Kate Sickel - 11/02/2017
Erica Becker - 03/20/2019
John Duffield - 08/09/2021


compress summary

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Due Process: Substantive Due Process
Equal Protection
Supremacy Clause
Content of Injunction
Discrimination Prohibition
Preliminary relief granted
Defendant-type
College/University
Jurisdiction-wide
Discrimination-area
Accommodation / Leave
Medical Exam / Inquiry
Discrimination-basis
Gender identity
Sexual orientatation
General
Access to public accommodations - governmental
Bathrooms
Buildings
Disparate Impact
Disparate Treatment
Gay/lesbian/transgender
Reasonable Accommodations
Reasonable Modifications
School/University Facilities
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Non-government for profit
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Ex parte Young (federal or state officials)
Defendant(s) State of North Carolina
Plaintiff Description The North Carolina chapter of the ACLU, Equality North Carolina, and several transgender individuals and lesbian couples
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Affiliates (any)
Lambda Legal
Class action status sought No
Class action status outcome Not sought
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Source of Relief Litigation
Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Filed 03/28/2016
Case Closing Year 2021
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing PA-NC-0004 : United States v. State of North Carolina (M.D. N.C.)
PA-NC-0003 : McCrory v. United States (E.D.N.C.)
PA-NC-0005 : North Carolinians for Privacy v. United States Department of Justice (E.D.N.C.)
PA-NC-0006 : Berger v. United States Department of Justice (E.D.N.C.)
Additional Resources
click to show/hide detail
  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  Dear Colleague Letter [rescinding prior letters relating to bathroom access for trans students]
U.S. Department of Education
Date: Feb. 22, 2017
By: Sandra Battle & T.E. Wheeler (U.S. Department of Education)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  Gloucester County School Board v. G.G. [Scotusblog page]
Scotusblog.com
Date: Feb. 7, 2017
(Scotusblog)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  G.G. V. Gloucester County School Board -- ACLU's Case Page
ACLU
Date: Oct. 16, 2016
By: ACLU
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Dear Colleague Letter on Transgender Students
www.ed.gov
Date: May 13, 2016
By: Catherine E. Lhamon and Vanita Gupta (U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  Examples of Policies and Emerging Practices for Supporting Transgender Students
www.ed.gov
Date: May 2016
By: United States Department of Education
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

Court Docket(s)
M.D. N.C.
08/09/2021
1:16-cv-00236-TDS-JEP
PA-NC-0002-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
M.D. N.C.
03/28/2016
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1]
PA-NC-0002-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
M.D. N.C.
04/21/2016
First Amended Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 9]
PA-NC-0002-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
M.D. N.C.
06/06/2016
Memorandum Order [ECF# 44] (315 F.R.D. 176)
PA-NC-0002-0009.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
M.D. N.C.
08/26/2016
Order [Preliminary Injunction] [ECF# 127]
PA-NC-0002-0004.pdf | Detail
M.D. N.C.
11/21/2016
3rd Amended Complaint [ECF# 183]
PA-NC-0002-0005.pdf | Detail
M.D. N.C.
05/02/2017
Order Lifting Injunction [ECF# 205]
PA-NC-0002-0006.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
M.D. N.C.
09/07/2017
Fourth Amended Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief and Nominal Damages [ECF# 210]
PA-NC-0002-0007.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
M.D. N.C.
10/18/2017
Plaintiffs' and Executive Branch Defendants' Joint Motion for Entry of a Consent Decree [ECF# 216]
PA-NC-0002-0008.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
M.D. N.C.
09/30/2018
Memorandum Opinion and Order [ECF# 248]
PA-NC-0002-0010.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
M.D. N.C.
12/21/2018
Plaintiff's and Executive Branch Defendants' Supplemental Joint Motion for Entry of a Consent Decree [ECF# 264]
PA-NC-0002-0011.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
M.D. N.C.
07/23/2019
Consent Judgment and Decree [ECF# 296]
PA-NC-0002-0012.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
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Judges Peake, Joi Elizabeth (State Trial Court, M.D. N.C.) [Magistrate] show/hide docs
PA-NC-0002-9000
Schroeder, Thomas D. (M.D. N.C.) show/hide docs
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Brook, Christopher (North Carolina) show/hide docs
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Como, Irena (North Carolina) show/hide docs
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Cooper, Leslie (New York) show/hide docs
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Davidson, Jon Warren (California) show/hide docs
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Esseks, James Dixon (New York) show/hide docs
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Gill, Elizabeth O. (California) show/hide docs
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Noll, Andrew C (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Palazzolo, Kyle A. (Illinois) show/hide docs
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Platzer, Luke C. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Smith, Paul M. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Strangio, Chase (New York) show/hide docs
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Wilkens, Scott B. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Wolfe, Jenifer R. (North Carolina) show/hide docs
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Defendant's Lawyers Bowers, Karl S. (South Carolina) show/hide docs
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Brooks, Bernard Erwin (Texas) show/hide docs
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Burnham, James M (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Dreiband, Eric S. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Driscoll, Robert Neil (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Duncan, S. Kyle (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Francisco, Noel (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Gordon, Frank J. (North Carolina) show/hide docs
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Gore, John M. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Hartman, Curt Carl (Ohio) show/hide docs
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Jaffe, Erik (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Lejnieks, Kristen A. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Majmundar, Amar (North Carolina) show/hide docs
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McDowell, Leah D. (Mississippi) show/hide docs
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Nager, Glen David (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Osborn, David Christopher (North Carolina) show/hide docs
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Potter, Robert Daniel (North Carolina) show/hide docs
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Pratt, Carolyn C. (North Carolina) show/hide docs
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Schaerr, Gene C. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Schwartz, Stephen S. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Shanahan, Thomas C. (North Carolina) show/hide docs
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Stephens, Robert C. (North Carolina) show/hide docs
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Stewart, William Woodley Jr. (North Carolina) show/hide docs
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Suri, Vivek (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Vysotskaya de Brito, Olga Eugenia (North Carolina) show/hide docs
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Ziko, Thomas J (North Carolina) show/hide docs
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Other Lawyers Nimocks, David A. (Texas) show/hide docs
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Pfeiffer, Sonya (North Carolina) show/hide docs
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Robertson, Cynthia C. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Sigmon, Mark R. (North Carolina) show/hide docs
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Smith, Nathaniel Robert (California) show/hide docs
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