Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Edmo v. Idaho Department of Correction

United States District Court, D. Idaho

November 8, 2019

ADREE EDMO, Plaintiff,
v.
IDAHO DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTION; HENRY ATENCIO; JEFF ZMUDA; HOWARD KEITH YORDY; CORIZON, INC.; SCOTT ELIASON; MURRAY YOUNG; RICHARD CRAIG; RONA SIEGERT; CATHERINE WHINNERY; AND DOES 1-15, Defendants.

          ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS' EXPEDITED MOTION TO STAY

          B. Lynn Winmill U.S. District Court Judge

         INTRODUCTION

         Pending before the Court is Defendants' expedited motion to stay this Court's order of October 24, 2019, pending appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. (Expedited Motion to Stay, Dkt. 228; Notice of Appeal, Dkt. 227.) The Court's order requires Defendants to provide all pre-surgical treatments and related corollary appointments or consultations necessary for the Plaintiff to undergo gender confirmation surgery. (See Dkt. 225 (“Presurgical Order”).)

         After careful consideration of the motion, the parties' arguments, the procedural and factual record, and relevant law, the Court will deny the expedited motion to stay. However, the Court will defer setting a deadline for Plaintiff to receive her first hair removal treatment to allow the Court to hold a limited hearing for purposes outlined below.

         BACKGROUND

         On December 13, 2018, the Court issued a decision concluding that by refusing to provide Plaintiff gender confirmation surgery to treat her severe gender dysphoria, Defendants violated the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America. The Court granted Plaintiff's motion for injunctive relief, and ordered Defendants to “take all actions reasonably necessary to provide Ms. Edmo gender confirmation surgery as promptly as possible and no later than six months from the date” of the order. (Dkt. 149 at 45 (“2018 Order”). Defendants appealed the decision, and moved the Court to stay the injunction pending resolution of the appeal. (Dkt. 154; Dkt 156.) Although the Court denied the motion to stay, a Ninth Circuit motions panel granted a stay pending appeal. (Dkt. 182.) Later, Plaintiff filed a motion to modify the appellate stay to exempt a previously scheduled presurgical appointment with the surgeon chosen by Defendants to perform the gender confirmation surgery, Dr. Geoffrey Stiller. The panel granted the motion, and the presurgical appointment took place on April 12, 2019. (Dkt. 187.)

         Dr. Stiller's medical assessment record from the presurgical appointment included notes that are pertinent to Defendants' motion. (Exhibit A to Defendants' Memorandum in Support of the Expedited Motion to Stay, Dkt. 228-2 at 12.) Dr. Stiller noted that he discussed the pros and cons of two gender confirmation surgery techniques-penile inversion vaginoplasty and colovaginoplasty. Id. The notes include that Dr. Stiller discussed with Plaintiff the fact that hair removal was “needed” for the penile inversion technique. Id. Dr. Stiller noted also that, should Plaintiff proceed with the colovaginoplasty technique, “the first stage can be completed with hair removal” followed by the surgery six (6) months later. Id.

         On August 23, 2019, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the 2018 Order, holding Defendants violated Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment right to adequate and necessary medical treatment of her severe gender dysphoria by denying gender confirmation surgery. (Dkt. 209.) Defendants filed a petition for rehearing en banc, which as of the date of this order is pending.

         Subsequently, Plaintiff filed a motion requesting the Ninth Circuit partially lift its stay of the 2018 Order to enable her to receive all necessary presurgical treatments. In support of the motion, Plaintiff submitted a letter from Dr. Stiller wherein he provided an estimation that completion of all presurgical treatments and prerequisites would take at least six months. The Ninth Circuit granted Plaintiff's motion for partial lifting of the stay. (Dkt. 220.) The court found that, as the proponents of the stay, Defendants failed to show irreparable harm was probable “with respect to the limited nature of Plaintiff's request.” Id. at 2. The court found also that Defendants failed to meet their burden to show a substantial case on the merits or that the balance of the hardships tipped sharply in their favor. Id. at 2. Accordingly, the Ninth Circuit partially lifted the appellate stay of the 2018 injunction “so that Plaintiff may receive all presurgical treatments and related corollary appointments or consultations necessary for gender confirmation surgery.” Id.

         In light of the partial lifting, the Court held a status conference with counsel for the parties. (Dkt. 222.) During the conference, counsel for Defendant Corizon suggested, for the first time, that his client was confused or uncertain regarding the specific presurgical requirements and the type of gender confirmation surgery required by the 2018 Order and the Ninth Circuit's August 2019 decision. Given Defendants' contentions, the Court ordered Plaintiff to file a submission detailing the presurgical requirements indicated by the performing surgeon, Dr. Stiller.

         Plaintiff filed the submission on October 22, 2019. (Dkt. 224.) According to the submission, three presurgical requirements remain outstanding: (1) a physician referral letter, (2) laser treatment or electrolysis of the surgical area, and (3) documentation of approval for payment. Id. With the presurgical requirements clarified, the Court issued the Presurgical Order, which requires Defendants to take steps to ensure the three remaining presurgical requirements are completed in a timely manner. To this end, the Court required Defendants to schedule and ensure that Plaintiff's first hair removal treatment take place on or before November 8, 2019.

         The Court held a second status conference with Counsel for the parties on October 30, 2019. (Dkt. 230.) The purpose of the status conference was to obtain an update from Defendants on their progress in complying with the Presurgical Order. Counsel for Defendants noted Plaintiff's first hair removal treatment had been scheduled for November 7, 2019. Defendants filed the present motion and notice of appeal on October 31, 2019. (Dkt. 227, 228.) Plaintiff filed a response to the motion November 5, 2019. (Dkt. 235.) The following day, the Court vacated the November 8, 2019 hair removal treatment deadline to allow careful and full consideration of Defendants' expedited motion to stay. (Dkt. 239.) The Court will now discuss the merits of the motion.

         STANDARD OF LAW

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 62(d) provides that, when “an appeal is pending from an interlocutory order or final judgment that grants … an injunction, ” a “court may suspend, modify, or restore an injunction on …. terms that secure the opposing party's rights.” Pertinent to the present motion, a court may stay, i.e. “hold an order in abeyance pending [its] review.” Nken v. Holder, 556 U.S. 418, 427 (2009).

         The traditional standard used to determine whether a stay of an order should issue pending appeal of the order requires a court to consider four factors: “(1) whether the stay applicant has made a strong showing that he is likely to succeed on the merits; (2) whether the applicant will be irreparably injured absent a stay; (3) whether issuance of the stay will substantially injure the other parties interested in the proceeding; and (4) where the public interest lies.” Id. (internal citations omitted). The party requesting the stay bears the burden of showing it is warranted under the circumstances. Id. at 433-34. The first two factors are considered “the most critical” to a court's determination. Id. at 434. Ultimately, however, a stay is “an exercise of judicial discretion” where the propriety “of its issue is dependent upon the circumstances of the particular case.” Id.

         ANALYSIS

         The recent procedural history of this case bears on the Court's analysis of the propriety of a stay of the Presurgical Order. Defendants' motion comes on the heels of a decision from the Ninth Circuit to partially lift the appellate court stay of the 2018 Order. In issuing the order, the Ninth Circuit found “Defendants, as the proponents of the stay, ” did not show “that irreparable harm is probable with respect to the limited nature of Plaintiff's request” and also did not show “that they have both a substantial case on the merits and the balance of hardships tips sharply in their favor.” (Dkt. 220 at 2 (citing Leiva-Perez v. Holder, 640 F.3d 962, 970 (9th Cir. 2011) (per curiam) (internal citations omitted)).

         Defendants now ask this Court to reconsider the factors and arguments fully considered by the Ninth Circuit. Furthermore, Defendants' motion involves, as its subject, the same core issue presented to the circuit-the performance of presurgical treatments pending conclusion of appellate review. Defendants' motion viewed in the best light invites the Court to engage in a circular exercise; in the worst light it suggests an attempt to relitigate decided issues and to delay provision of the presurgical treatments ordered by the Ninth Circuit.

         While gravely concerned that the Defendants' filings are for the purpose of delay and do not reflect any real misunderstanding of the Court's prior decision, the Court will not preclude the Defendants from presenting, on an expedited basis, their belated argument that other gender confirmation surgery techniques would cure the constitutional violation at issue in this case. The Court will discuss that issue in the context of the factors it must consider when deciding whether to issue a stay pending appeal.

         1. Defendants have not shown a strong likelihood of ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.