Argued and Submitted, San Francisco, California: June
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California. D.C. No. 1:12-cv-01213-RRB. Ralph R. Beistline, Chief District Judge, Presiding.
Prisoner Civil Rights
The panel reversed the district court's dismissal of a pro se complaint brought by a California state prisoner pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that prison officials were deliberately indifferent to the prisoner's serious medical needs, in violation of the Eighth Amendment, when they refused to provide sexual reassignment surgery.
The panel held that the allegations in the complaint were sufficient to state a claim. The panel held that plaintiff plausibly alleged that her symptoms (including repeated efforts at self-castration) were so severe that prison officials recklessly disregarded an excessive risk to her health by denying sexual reassignment surgery solely on the recommendation of a physician's assistant with no experience in transgender medicine. The panel expressed no opinion on whether sexual reassignment surgery was medically necessary for plaintiff or whether prison officials have other legitimate reasons for denying her that treatment. The panel further held that on remand, the district court should address the merits of plaintiff's Equal Protection Claim in the first instance.
Jon W. Davidson, Peter C. Renn (argued), Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc., Los Angeles, California; Alison Hardy, Prison Law Office, Berkeley, California, for Plaintiff-Appellant.
Kamala D. Harris, Attorney General, Jonathan L. Wolff, Senior Assistant Attorney General, Thomas S. Patterson, Supervising Deputy Attorney General, Jose A. Zelidon-Zepeda and Neah Huynh (argued), Deputy Attorneys General, San Francisco, California, for Defendants-Appellees.
Cori A. Lable, Daniel V. McCaughey, Michael T. Packard, and Kevin P. Budris, Ropes & Gray LLP, Boston, Massachusetts, for Amicus Curiae World Professional Association for Transgender Health.
Before: Barry G. Silverman, Ronald M. Gould, and Andrew D. Hurwitz, Circuit Judges.
Philip Walker Rosati (now known as Mia Rosati) is a transgender inmate in the California prison system. Rosati filed a pro se 42 U.S.C. § 1983 complaint ...