L.W. v. Skrmetti

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Updated: 7/10/23

(Case No. 3:23-cv-00376m, United States District Court Middle District of Tennessee)

ACLU-TN:  Lucas Cameron-Vaughn, Jeff Preptit, Stella Yarbrough

ACLU: Joshua A. Block, Chase Strangio

Lambda Legal: Tara Borelli, Avatara A. Smith-Carrington, Sruti J. Swaminathan,

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP: David Bethea, Dean L. Chapman, Jr., Kristen W. Chin, Richard J. D’Amato, Christopher J. Gessner,  Elizabeth D. Scott, Joseph L. Sorkin,

Plaintiffs: L.W., by and through her parents and next friends, Samantha Williams and Brian Williams; JOHN DOE, by and through his parents and next friends, Jane Doe and James Doe; RYAN ROE, by and through his parent and next friend, Rebecca Roe; REBECCA ROE; and SUSAN N. LACY, on behalf of herself and her patient.

Defendants: JONATHAN SKRMETTI, in his official capacity as the Tennessee Attorney General and Reporter; TENNESSEE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH; RALPH ALVARADO, in his official capacity as the Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Health; TENNESSEE BOARD OF MEDICAL EXAMINERS; MELANIE BLAKE, in her official capacity as the President of the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners; STEPHEN LOYD, in his official capacity as Vice President of the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners; RANDALL E. PEARSON, PHYLLIS E. MILLER, SAMANTHA MCLERRAN, KEITH G. ANDERSON, DEBORAH CHRISTIANSEN, JOHN W. HALE, JOHN J. MCGRAW, ROBERT ELLIS, JAMES DIAZ-BARRIGA, and JENNIFER CLAXTON, in their official capacities as members of the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners; and LOGAN GRANT, in his official capacity as the Executive Director of the Tennessee Health Facilities Commission.


In April 2023, the ACLU of Tennessee, the American Civil Liberties Union, Lambda Legal, and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP sued the State of Tennessee to block the state’s ban on medically necessary gender-affirming care for Tennessee’s transgender youth. Tennessee is home to over 3,000 transgender adolescents and the health care banned by this law is supported by the entire mainstream of the medical community.

The legal advocates are suing Tennessee on behalf of Samantha and Brian Williams of Nashville and their 15-year-old transgender daughter, two other plaintiff families filing anonymously, and Memphis-based medical doctor Dr. Susan Lacy.

In addition to banning best practice medical care for trans youth up to age 18, Public Chapter No. 1 would require trans youth currently receiving gender-affirming care to end that care within nine months of the law’s effective date of July 1, 2023, or by March 31, 2024. The law also establishes a private right of action against medical providers providing medically necessary care to trans youth.

On April 26, 2023, the Justice Department filed a motion to join our lawsuit challenging Tennessee’s recently enacted ban on critical, necessary medical care for transgender youth. ⁠DOJ’s complaint alleges that the ban violates the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause and the department is asking the court to issue an immediate order to prevent the law from going into effect on July 1, 2023.⁠

On June 28, 2023, a federal judge blocked enforcement of this law while the legal challenge brought by several families and a doctor proceeds in court.

On July 8, 2023, a panel of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals paused the federal trial judge’s order and allowed the law to temporarily go into effect whilthey consider the appeal of the injunction blocking the law.  On September 1, 2023, at a hearing we urged the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold the lower court’s injunction. 

The panel of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has expedited consideration of the full appeal of the preliminary injunction so that they issue a final decision by September 30.

Status: Active

Legal Documents

Plaintiff-Intervenor’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction (April 26, 2023)

Plaintiff-Intervenor’s Motion to Intervene (April 26, 2023)

Plaintiff-Intervenor’s Complaint in Intervention (April 26, 2023)

Complaint (April 20, 2023)

Motion Granting Preliminary Injunction (June 28, 2023)

Memorandum in Support of Motion Granting Preliminary Injunction (June 28, 2023)

Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals Ruling (July 7, 2023)

Press Releases

LGBTQ+ Advocates Sue Tennessee to Block Dangerous Transgender Healthcare Ban – ACLU of Tennessee (April 20, 2023)

Federal Judge Blocks Tennessee’s Ban on Trans Youth’s Health Care – ACLU of Tennessee (aclu-tn.org) (June 28, 2023)

Sixth Circuit Allows Tennessee’s Ban on Care for Transgender Youth to Take Effect (July 7, 2023)

2023-09-05T13:02:19-05:00 April 20th, 2023|Categories: Docket|