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Case Name Rhames v. United States of America PC-TX-0023
Docket / Court 7:17-cv-00009-O ( N.D. Tex. )
State/Territory Texas
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
After three plaintiffs sought to intervene in Texas v. United States, Judge Reed O'Connor of the Northern District of Texas ordered the claims to be severed and removed to a new civil action. Thus, this case was brought on 02/03 ... read more >
After three plaintiffs sought to intervene in Texas v. United States, Judge Reed O'Connor of the Northern District of Texas ordered the claims to be severed and removed to a new civil action. Thus, this case was brought on 02/03/2017. The plaintiffs were cisgender women incarcerated in Texas federal prisons. They alleged that their First, Fourth, Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments were violated when transgender female prisoners were housed in the same single-sex facilities as the plaintiffs. The plaintiffs also alleged that being housed with transgender prisoners violated their rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (42 U.S.C. §§ 2000bb-4 et seq.). The plaintiffs were represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom. They sought a declaratory judgment, preliminary and permanent injunctive relief, punitive damages, and attorney's fees. The named defendants were the United States of America, the Attorney General of the United States, the Acting Director of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, and both of the Wardens of the prisons where the plaintiffs were held.

The plaintiffs filed second and third amended complaints on March 2, 2017 and May 12, 2017, respectively. The third amended complaint included four plaintiffs alleging the same constitutional violations and seeking the same relief. On June 26, 2017, the plaintiffs also filed a motion for preliminary injunction. The plaintiffs asked the Court to enjoin the defendants from housing transgender women in the same facilities as the plaintiffs.

The parties began to engage in settlement negotiations in September 2017, but failed to reach an agreement. Around the same time, a transgender woman incarcerated at the same facility in question moved to intervene in the action. She alleged that the plaintiffs' complaints were false and driven by anti-transgender biases and prejudices.

On May 11, 2018, the U.S. Department of Justice promulgated revisions to the Transgender Offender Manual for the Bureau of Prisons. In light of the revisions, the plaintiffs withdrew their motion for a preliminary injunction. The court also ordered the plaintiffs to file a new complaint to specify the claims that would proceed after the revisions.

On July 11, 2018, three female plaintiffs alleged similar claims as had been alleged in prior complaints; namely, that the housing of transgender female prisoners violated the plaintiffs' right to bodily privacy and endangered their physical and mental health.

The plaintiffs filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiff's claims on September 10, 2018. The remaining plaintiff and two intervenors initially opposed the motion and tried to proceed with their claims, filing a motion to certify a proposed class of "all female inmates who have been housed or otherwise situated with genetically-males inmates identifying as female." The plaintiff was eventually released and, as such, did not oppose the motion to dismiss. On April 12, 2019, Judge O'Connor dismissed the case with prejudice.

Justin Hill - 01/17/2021


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Due Process
Due Process: Substantive Due Process
Free Exercise Clause
Petitions clause
Unreasonable search and seizure
Defendant-type
Corrections
Discrimination-basis
Gender identity
Sex discrimination
General
Assault/abuse by residents/inmates/students
Classification / placement
Conditions of confinement
Gay/lesbian/transgender
Religious programs / policies
Sanitation / living conditions
Sexual abuse by residents/inmates
Totality of conditions
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Religious Freedom Rest. Act/Religious Land Use and Inst. Persons Act (RFRA/RLUIPA)
Defendant(s) Department of Justice
Federal Medical Center, Carswell
U.S. Bureau of Prisons
Plaintiff Description Four cisgender women incarcerated in Texas represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom.
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status outcome Mooted before ruling
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Filed 02/03/2017
Case Closing Year 2019
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing PA-TX-0001 : Texas v. United States (N.D. Tex.)
Court Docket(s)
N.D. Tex.
04/12/2019
7:17-cv-00009-O
PC-TX-0023-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
N.D. Tex.
02/03/2017
Motion to Intervene [ECF# 2]
PC-TX-0023-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
N.D. Tex.
02/03/2017
Plaintiffs' Response to Motion for Preliminary Injunction by Jeanette Driever, et al. [ECF# 14]
PC-TX-0023-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
N.D. Tex.
02/03/2017
Complaint [ECF# 25]
PC-TX-0023-0006.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
N.D. Tex.
05/12/2017
Third Amended Verified Complaint [ECF# 59]
PC-TX-0023-0003.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
N.D. Tex.
06/26/2017
Motion for Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 79]
PC-TX-0023-0004.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
N.D. Tex.
07/11/2018
Brenda Rhames' Amended Verified Complaint [ECF# 191]
PC-TX-0023-0007.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
N.D. Tex.
04/12/2019
Judgment [ECF# 238]
PC-TX-0023-0005.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges O'Connor, Reed Charles (N.D. Tex.) show/hide docs
PC-TX-0023-0005
Plaintiff's Lawyers Hallock, Jeana (Arizona) show/hide docs
PC-TX-0023-0003 | PC-TX-0023-0004 | PC-TX-0023-0007 | PC-TX-0023-9000
Holcomb, Christiana (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PC-TX-0023-0007 | PC-TX-0023-9000
Little, Charlsa Suzanne (Texas) show/hide docs
PC-TX-0023-0001 | PC-TX-0023-0006 | PC-TX-0023-9000
McCaleb, Gary S. (Arizona) show/hide docs
PC-TX-0023-0003 | PC-TX-0023-0004 | PC-TX-0023-0007 | PC-TX-0023-9000
Nimocks, Austin (Texas) show/hide docs
PC-TX-0023-0002
Norred, Warren V (Texas) show/hide docs
PC-TX-0023-9000
Pikl, James A (Texas) show/hide docs
PC-TX-0023-0003 | PC-TX-0023-0004 | PC-TX-0023-0007 | PC-TX-0023-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Cutler, David G. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PC-TX-0023-9000
Nestler, Emily B. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PC-TX-0023-9000
Sealls, Kenneth Eliot (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PC-TX-0023-9000
Smith, Laura K. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PC-TX-0023-9000

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