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Case Name Whitman-Walker Health v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services PB-DC-0013
Docket / Court 1:20-cv-01630 ( D.D.C. )
State/Territory District of Columbia
Case Type(s) Public Benefits / Government Services
Attorney Organization Lambda Legal
Case Summary
This is a case about the Trump Administration's limits on LGBTQ protections under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (42 U.S.C. § 18116). On June 22, 2020, a group of LGBTQ-focused private healthcare providers, organizations providing community services, health professional ... read more >
This is a case about the Trump Administration's limits on LGBTQ protections under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (42 U.S.C. § 18116). On June 22, 2020, a group of LGBTQ-focused private healthcare providers, organizations providing community services, health professional associations, and individual providers filed this lawsuit in the District Court for the District of Columbia. The plaintiffs sued the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. § 706), claiming that the defendants violated the First and Fifth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution. Represented by both Lambda Legal and private counsel, the plaintiffs sought injunctive relief, declaratory relief, and attorney's fees. Specifically, they alleged that the revised regulation issued under § 1557 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) by HHS under the Trump Administration limits protections for LGBTQ individuals and causes harm to them and healthcare providers.

In 2010, President Obama signed the ACA into law. Section 1557 prohibits discrimination based on sex, race, color, national origin, age, and disability. In 2016, HHS enacted a final rule (the "2016 Rule") to implement the nondiscrimination requirements of Section 1557. The 2016 Rule defined sex discrimination to include discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sex stereotyping and declared that healthcare providers and insurers cannot discriminate against LGBTQ individuals in medical and coverage decisions. In June 2020, however, the Trump Administration issued a revised regulation (the "2020 Rule"), which rolled back the 2016 Rule. The 2020 Rule eliminated the unitary legal standard for enforcement of violations of Section 1557 and introduced broad exemptions for discrimination based on personal religious or moral beliefs.

This case was assigned to Judge James E. Boasberg. On July 9, 2020, the plaintiffs filed a motion for a preliminary injunction or, in the alternative, motion to stay pending judicial review. The defendants filed their opposition on July 24, and the plaintiffs answered the defendants' opposition on July 29. On September 2, the court enjoined the Administration from implementing two provisions: (1) the 2020 Rule's elimination of "sex stereotyping" from the 2016 Rule's definition of "discrimination on the basis of sex" and (2) the 2020 Rule's use of Title IX's exemption of certain religious organizations from the statute’s nondiscrimination mandate. The court limited the injunction to claims it concluded had a likelihood of success, and thus denied relief for the plaintiffs' claims that the 2020 Rule erroneously eliminated the 2016 Rule’s prohibition on categorical coverage exclusions for gender-affirming care, improperly repealed the 2016 Rule’s notice requirements, and violated Section 1554 of the ACA. Because the court did not find those claims to have a likelihood of success, it also did not award relief for the plaintiffs' constitutional claims. The injunction applied nationwide. In its opinion addressing the motion for a preliminary injunction, the court also analyzed whether or not the plaintiffs had standing to bring their claims. Citing the fear instilled in the LGBTQ community as evidence of imminent injury, the court found that the plaintiffs had organizational standing for their four common-injury claims and two of their five organizational-injury claims of injuries caused by the 2020 Rule. The court also held that the plaintiffs had third-party standing to assert the equal-protection, substantive-due-process, and free-speech rights of third-party LGBTQ patients.

This case is ongoing.

Lauren Yu - 09/27/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process: Substantive Due Process
Equal Protection
Establishment Clause
Freedom of speech/association
Content of Injunction
Discrimination Prohibition
Preliminary relief granted
Discrimination-basis
Gender identity
Sexual orientatation
General
Gay/lesbian/transgender
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.
Defendant(s) United States Department of Health and Human Services
Plaintiff Description a group of LGBTQ-focused private healthcare providers, organizations providing community services, health professional associations, and individual providers
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Lambda Legal
Class action status sought No
Class action status outcome Not sought
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Source of Relief Litigation
Filed 06/22/2020
Case Ongoing Yes
Case Listing PB-WA-0008 : Washington v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (W.D. Wash.)
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  Whitman-Walker Clinic v. HHS
Lambda Legal
Date: 07/15/2020
By: Lambda Legal
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Court Docket(s)
D.D.C.
09/08/2020
1:20-cv-01630-JEB
PB-DC-0013-9000.pdf | Detail
General Documents
D.D.C.
06/22/2020
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1]
PB-DC-0013-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D.D.C.
07/15/2020
Brief of U.S. House of Representatives as Amicus Curiae in Support of Plaintiffs [ECF# 34-1]
PB-DC-0013-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D.D.C.
09/02/2020
Memorandum Opinion [ECF# 56] (485 F.Supp.3d 1)
PB-DC-0013-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Boasberg, James Emanuel (FISC, D.D.C.) show/hide docs
PB-DC-0013-0003 | PB-DC-0013-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Becker, Khristoph (New York) show/hide docs
PB-DC-0013-0001 | PB-DC-0013-9000
Charles, Carl (New York) show/hide docs
PB-DC-0013-0001 | PB-DC-0013-9000
Dennehy, Johanna S. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PB-DC-0013-0001 | PB-DC-0013-9000
Edelstein, Laura Joy (California) show/hide docs
PB-DC-0013-0001 | PB-DC-0013-9000
Gliksberg, Jamie Avra (Illinois) show/hide docs
PB-DC-0013-0001 | PB-DC-0013-9000
Gonzalez-Pagan, Omar (New York) show/hide docs
PB-DC-0013-0001 | PB-DC-0013-9000
Lane-Steele, Laura (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PB-DC-0013-0001
Loewy, Karen Lee (New York) show/hide docs
PB-DC-0013-0001 | PB-DC-0013-9000
Vatis, Michael A. (New York) show/hide docs
PB-DC-0013-0001 | PB-DC-0013-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Holland, Liam (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PB-DC-0013-9000
Lane, William Kerwin III (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PB-DC-0013-9000
Von Bokern, Jordan L (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PB-DC-0013-9000
Other Lawyers Bagby, Kelly R. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PB-DC-0013-9000
Barbero, Megan (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PB-DC-0013-0002
Degeyter, Gregory (Texas) show/hide docs
PB-DC-0013-9000
Gorod, Brianne J. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PB-DC-0013-0002
Letter, Douglas (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PB-DC-0013-0002 | PB-DC-0013-9000
Morse, Josephine T (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PB-DC-0013-0002 | PB-DC-0013-9000
Phatak, Ashwin P. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PB-DC-0013-0002
Sevier, Chris (Florida) show/hide docs
PB-DC-0013-9000
Tatelman, Todd B. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PB-DC-0013-0002
Wydra, Elizabeth B. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PB-DC-0013-0002

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