TLDEF Files Brief in Support of Transgender Man's Hospital Discrimination Lawsuit
Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF) has filed a friend of the court brief in the U.S. District Court of Minnesota in support of Jakob Rumble, a transgender man who is suing a hospital and medical group in suburban Minneapolis for the discriminatory treatment he received during an emergency room visit and hospitalization in June of 2013.
Mr. Rumble’s complaint against Fairview Health Services and Emergency Physicians alleges that he was subjected to bias when he sought treatment for severe pain at Fairview Southdale Hospital in Edina, Minnesota. At intake, Mr. Rumble was misgendered by hospital staff and given a wristband that inaccurately identified him as female. He was then bombarded with inappropriate and offensive questions about his sexual behavior by a hostile emergency room physician. The doctor proceeded with the examination in such a rough manner that both Rumble and his mother begged the doctor to stop. The rest of Mr. Rumble’s six-day hospital stay included several additional bias incidents. Shortly after Rumble was discharged from the hospital, Fairview issued Mr. Rumble a bill claiming it could not process insurance payment of his bills because of a “gender mismatch.”
In March of 2015, U.S. District Court Judge Susan Richard Nelson threw out a motion by the hospital to dismiss the lawsuit, ruling that Rumble had a plausible case that he was subjected to discrimination in violation of both federal and state laws. In early December 2016, the hospital and the medical group again filed motions seeking to dismiss the case, this time claiming Mr. Rumble had failed to point to sufficient evidence of discrimination.
In its amicus brief, TLDEF advised the court that that the incidents Jakob Rumble faced in the hospital are common forms of anti-transgender discrimination that happen regularly in healthcare settings. The organization also argued that a jury should be allowed to hear the evidence presented and decide if discrimination occurred.
“Transgender Americans continue to experience high rates of discrimination in healthcare environments simply because of who they are,” said TLDEF Staff Attorney Ezra Young. “From private doctor’s offices to emergency rooms, transgender Americans report an alarming number of discriminatory incidents from health providers. These are direct violations of section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act and the Minnesota Human Rights Act.”
“Rampant discrimination takes a physical and mental toll on transgender Americans,” Young continued. “Transgender Americans already endure significant health disparities. Fear of discrimination drives many transgender persons to avoid necessary care. We must continue to hold medical institutions accountable for actions that violate the sex discrimination provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Fairview Health Services and Emergency Physicians treated Mr. Rumble deplorably. No one should ever face the humiliating healthcare experience Mr. Rumble endured. He deserves his day in court.”
Click here to see TLDEF's brief: http://www.transgenderlegal.org/media/uploads/doc_703.pdf