Filed in January 2019, the ACLU of Arizona is co-counsel with the ACLU LGBT Project and law firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP. The case is a class action lawsuit against the State of Arizona and the Arizona Board of Regents for denying medically necessary, genderconfirming healthcare to transgender people employed by the state.
The Arizona state employee health plan has a blanket exclusion for “gender reassignment surgery” and transgender people are not offered the opportunity to demonstrate that their transitionrelated surgery is medically necessary. The lawsuit alleges the exclusion unlawfully discriminates against transgender people in violation of federal civil rights statutes and the Constitution. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Dr. Russell B. Toomey, an associate professor of family studies and human development at the University of Arizona, and all other transgender individuals employed by the Arizona Board of Regents or enrolled in the State health plan, including dependents. Because of the state’s discriminatory health plan, he has been unable to have a gender-confirming procedure recommended by his physician in accordance with the widely accepted standards of care for treating gender dysphoria.
The lawsuit asks the Court to remove the health plan’s exclusion for “gender reassignment surgery.” It also seeks the opportunity for all transgender state employees and dependents to have their claims for transition-related surgery evaluated as medically necessary under the same standards and procedures the health plan applies to other medical treatments. On December 23, 2019, Judge Marquez denied Defendants State of Arizona, Andy Tobin and Paul Shannon’s Motion to Dismiss, and class certification was granted on June 15, 2020. Plaintiff filed a Motion for Preliminary Injunction on September 1, 2020 which has been fully briefed by the Parties. The Court has taken the motion under advisement.
During the discovery process, the State of Arizona appealed a ruling by the trial court that the state had to turn over certain documents. On April 14, 2022, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the State of Arizona’s petition, and litigation proceedings will continue.