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Iglesiass v. True

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

July 25, 2019

CRISTINA NICHOLE IGLESIAS (a.k.a. CRISTIAN NOEL IGLESIAS), Plaintiff,
v.
WARDEN TRUE, IAN CONNORS, DEBORAH SCHULT ALIX McLEAREN, DONALD TRUMP and JOHN DOES #1-10, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM & ORDER

          J. PHIL GILBERT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Cristina Iglesias, an inmate with the Federal Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) who is currently incarcerated at the United States Penitentiary located in Marion, Illinois (“USP Marion”), brings this action for alleged violations of his constitutional rights by persons acting under the color of federal authority that occurred in connection with her placement and treatment in a male-only prison facility under Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq., and the Rehabilitation Act (“RA”), 29 U.S.C. §§ 794-94e. Plaintiff seeks injunctive, declaratory and monetary relief.

         This case is now before the Court for preliminary review of the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Under Section 1915A, the Court is required to screen prisoner complaints to filter out non-meritorious claims. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). Any portion of a complaint that is legally frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or asks for money damages from a defendant who by law is immune from such relief must be dismissed. 28 U.S.C.

         § 1915A(b). At this juncture, the factual allegations of the pro se complaint are to be liberally construed. Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).

         Complaint

         Plaintiff makes the following allegations in the Complaint (Doc. 1): Plaintiff is a transgendered inmate, anatomically male but identifying as female.[1] (Id., pp. 2, 7). She has been diagnosed with gender dysphoria and has been receiving hormone replacement therapy since 2015. (Id., pp. 7, 48). Plaintiff has also been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. (Id., p. 48). She is being held at USP Marion, a male-only facility, and is required to “liv[e] outwardly as a male.” (Id., pp. 8-9). Plaintiff has a history of suicidal ideation and attempts, as well as one attempt at self-castration. (Id.).

         Plaintiff has requested transfer to a female institution on multiple occasions, which have been denied. (Id., p. 9). She has been harassed and abused on multiple occasions. (Id., p. 10). She has also requested sex reassignment surgery, laser hair removal and for her official paperwork to be altered to reflect that she is female. (Id., pp. 9-11). All of these requests have either been denied or drawn a string of non-responses delaying (and constructively denying) the requested relief. Plaintiff identifies another male-to-female transgendered inmate-Peter Langdon- who was transferred from USP Marion to a female facility in Texas. (Id., p. 20). Plaintiff asserts that they are similarly situated in all other respects.

         Further, Plaintiff states that the Bureau of Prisons' Transgender Offender Manual was recently revised to require the Transgender Executive Council (“TEC”) to “use biological sex as the initial determination for [facility] designation[.]” (Id., p. 84). The policy also instructs the TEC to consider issues such as health and safety of the transgendered inmate, behavioral history, overall demeanor, likely interactions with other inmates, etc. (Id.). The policy further states that assignment based on identified gender “would be appropriate only in rare cases after consideration of all of the [stated] factors and where there has been significant progress toward transition as demonstrated by medical and mental health history.” (Id.).

         Based on the allegations in the Complaint, the Court finds it convenient to reorganize the pro se action into the following enumerated Counts:

Count 1: Eighth Amendment claim for deliberate indifference to a serious medical condition against Defendants
Count 2: First Amendment claim for denial of Plaintiff's requests to have her official paperwork reflect a sex and gender of “female”.
Count 3: Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection “class of one” claim.
Count 4: Eighth Amendment claim for failure to protect her from abuse and sexual assault.
Count 5: ADA/RA claims for failure to accommodate a serious disability.
Count 6: Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment claim for gender discrimination against Defendants Trump, John Doe #10 (U.S. Attorney General), and John Doe #9 (Director of the Bureau of Prisons) for formulating and implementing a discriminatory regulation requiring use of biological sex as the initial determinant for facility placement.

         The parties and the Court will use these designations in all future pleadings and orders, unless otherwise directed by a judicial officer of this Court. Any other claim that is mentioned in the First Amended Complaint but not addressed herein is considered dismissed without prejudice as inadequately pled under Twombly.[2]

         Discussion

         Count 1

         Plaintiff's first claims fall under the general umbrella of deliberate indifference to a serious medical need-that her gender dysphoria causes her significant suffering in being forced to live as a man amongst male prisoners, and that she has been denied the accommodations and treatments which would alleviate that suffering. The Supreme Court has recognized that deliberate indifference to the serious medical needs of prisoners may constitute cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104 (1976); Carlson v. Green, 446 U.S. 14 (1980). To prevail on a claim for deliberate indifference to a serious medical need, there are “two high hurdles, which every inmate-plaintiff must clear.” Dunigan ex rel. Nyman v. Winnebago Cnty., 165 F.3d 587, 590 (7th Cir. 1999). First, the ...


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