Adams v. Sch. Bd. of St. Johns Cnty.

Decision Date14 July 2021
Docket NumberNo. 18-13592,18-13592
Citation3 F.4th 1299
Parties Drew ADAMS, a minor, by and through his next friend and mother, Erica Adams Kasper, Plaintiff - Appellee, v. SCHOOL BOARD OF ST. JOHNS COUNTY, FLORIDA, Defendant - Appellant.
CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — Eleventh Circuit

Tara L. Borelli, Lambda Legal Education and Defense Fund, DECATUR, GA, Jennifer G. Altman, Aryeh Lev Kaplan, Markenzy Lapointe, Shani Rivaux, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP, MIAMI, FL, Paul David Castillo, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc., DALLAS, TX, Kirsten Doolittle, The Law Office of Kirsten Doolittle, PA, JACKSONVILLE, FL, Diana Katherine Flynn, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc., WASHINGTON, DC, Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, Lambda Legal Defense, NEW YORK, NY, William Clarke Miller, Cynthia Cook Robertson, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP, WASHINGTON, DC, Richard M. Segal, Nathaniel R. Smith, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP, SAN DIEGO, CA, for Plaintiff - Appellee.

Terry Joseph Harmon, Jeffrey Slanker, Robert Sniffen, Michael P. Spellman, Lisa Barclay Fountain, Sniffen & Spellman, PA, TALLAHASSEE, FL, Robert Christopher Barden, RC Barden & Associates, PLYMOUTH, MN, for Defendant - Appellant.

Craig Edward Bertschi, McRae Bertschi & Cole, LLC, DUNWOODY, GA, Amicus Curiae WOMEN'S LIBERATION FRONT.

James A. Campbell, Attorney General's Office, LINCOLN, NE, Gary S. McCaleb, Gary S. McCaleb, Attorney at Law, FLAGSTAFF, AZ, for Amici Curiae MIRIAM GROSSMAN, MICHAEL LAIDLAW, QUENTIN VAN METER, and ANDRE VAN MOL.

Edward John Jacobs, Victoria Lynn Stork, Joanna F. Wasick, Baker & Hostetler, LLP, NEW YORK, NY, for AIRBNB, INC., APPLE, INC., ASANA, INC., CREDO MOBILE, INC., DEUTSCHE BANK AG, EBAY INC., GENERAL ASSEMBLY SPACE, INC., GITHUB, INC., GLASSDOOR, INC., GLAXOSMITHKLINE LLC, GOOGLE LLC, IBM CORPORATION, INDIEGOGO, INC., KAISER PERMANENTE, KNOTEL, INC., LEVI STRAUSS & CO., LINDEN RESEARCH, INC. D/B/A LINDEN LAB, LYFT, MAPBOX, INC., MARIN SOFTWARE INCORPORATED, MASSACHUSETTS MUTUAL LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY "MASSMUTUAL", MICROSOFT CORPORATION, NIO USA, INC., PATREON, INC., POSTMATES INC., REPLACEMENTS, LTD, SHUTTERSTOCK, INC., SPOTIFY USA INC., TUMBLR, INC., XEROX CORPORATION, and YELP INC.

Nathan W. Kellum, Center for Religious Expression, MEMPHIS, TN, Gregory H. Teufel, OGC Law, LLC, PITTSBURGH, PA, Robert H. Tyler, Tyler & Bursch LLP, MURRIETA, CA, for Amicus Curiae WALT HEYER.

Patricia B. Palacios, Steptoe & Johnson, LLP, WASHINGTON, DC, David D. Mesa, Jerome Pierce, Steptoe & Johnson, LLP, SAN FRANCISCO, CA, for Amicus Curiae TERRY S. KOGAN.

Wesley R. Powell, Willkie Farr & Gallagher, LLP, NEW YORK, NY, for Amici Curiae NATIONAL PTA, GLSEN, THE AMERICAN SCHOOL COUNSELOR ASSOCIATION, and NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGISTS.

Charles Alan Rothfeld, Andrew John Pincus, Mayer Brown, LLP, WASHINGTON, DC, for Amici Curiae A BETTER BALANCE, ADL, ADVOCATES FOR YOUTH, AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF UNIVERSITY WOMEN, ATLANTA WOMEN FOR EQUALITY, BETH CHAYIM CHADASHIM, CALIFORNIA WOMEN LAWYERS, CENTER FOR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS, CENTER FOR REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS, CHAMPION WOMEN, COALITION OF BLACK TRADE UNIONISTS, DISABILITY RIGHTS EDUCATION AND DEFENSE FUND, EQUAL RIGHTS ADVOCATES, SURVJUSTICE, EQUALITY CALIFORNIA, THE IMPACT FUND, FAMILY VALUES @ WORK, FORGE, INC., THE WOMEN'S LAW CENTER OF MARYLAND, GENDER JUSTICE, UNION FOR REFORM JUDAISM, GIRLS FOR GENDER EQUITY, CENTRAL CONFERENCE OF AMERICAN RABBIS, GIRLS INC., IN OUR OWN VOICE: NATIONAL BLACK WOMEN'S REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE AGENDA, WOMEN OF REFORM JUDAISM, AND MEN OF REFORM JUDAISM, LATINOJUSTICE PRLDEF, UNITEWOMEN.ORG, LAWYERS CLUB OF SAN DIEGO, WOMEN LAWYERS ON GUARD INC., LEGAL AID AT WORK, WOMEN'S BAR ASSOCIATION OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, WOMEN'S BAR ASSOCIATION OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, WOMEN'S LAW PROJECT, LEGAL MOMENTUM, THE WOMEN'S LEGAL DEFENSE AND EDUCATION FUND, YOUNG WOMEN UNITED, LEGAL VOICE, NATIONAL ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN WOMEN'S FORUM, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF SOCIAL WORKERS, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF WOMEN LAWYERS, NATIONAL CENTER FOR LAW AND ECONOMIC JUSTICE, NATIONAL CENTER FOR TRANSGENDER EQUALITY, NATIONAL COUNCIL OF JEWISH WOMEN, PLANNED PARENTHOOD OF SOUTH, EAST AND NORTH FLORIDA, NATIONAL CRITTENTON, PLANNED PARENTHOOD OF SOUTHWEST AND CENTRAL FLORIDA, NATIONAL LGBTQ TASK FORCE, SISTERREACH, NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR WOMEN FOUNDATION, STOP SEXUAL ASSAULT IN SCHOOLS, and NATIONAL WOMEN'S LAW CENTER.

James E. Tysse, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, LLP, WASHINGTON, DC, Markos Cleomenes Generales, Jessica Weisel, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, LLP, LOS ANGELES, CA, for Amicus Curiae SCHOLARS WHO STUDY THE TRANSGENDER POPULATION.

Steven W. Davis, Boies Schiller & Flexner, LLP, MIAMI, FL, Rosanne C. Baxter, Boies Schiller & Flexner, LLP, ARMONK, NY, for Amicus Curiae SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS.

Dimitri Portnoi, Alexander Slavin, O'Melveny & Myers, LLP, LOS ANGELES, CA, for Amici Curiae CASA DE ESPERANZA: NATIONAL LATINA NETWORK FOR HEALTHY FAMILIES AND COMMUNITIES, NATIONAL ALLIANCE TO END SEXUAL VIOLENCE, NATIONAL COALITION AGAINST DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, NATIONAL RESOURCE CENTER ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, BUCKEYE REGION ANTI-VIOLENCE ORGANIZATION, A PROGRAM OF EQUITAS HEALTH, DC COALITION AGAINST DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, EMPIRE JUSTICE CENTER, ILLINOIS ACCOUNTABILITY INITIATIVE, IOWA COALITION AGAINST SEXUAL ASSAULT, LOUISIANA FOUNDATION AGAINST SEXUAL ASSAULT, MICHIGAN COALITION TO END DOMESTIC & SEXUAL VIOLENCE, NEBRASKA COALITION TO END DOMESTIC AND SEXUAL VIOLENCE, NEVADA COALITION TO END DOMESTIC AND SEXUAL VIOLENCE, NEW HAMPSHIRE COALITION AGAINST DOMESTIC AND SEXUAL VIOLENCE, NEW MEXICO COALITION OF SEXUAL ASSAULT PROGRAMS, INC., NEW YORK STATE COALITION AGAINST SEXUAL ASSAULT, NORTHERN MARIANAS COALITION AGAINST DOMESTIC & SEXUAL VIOLENCE, OHIO ALLIANCE TO END SEXUAL VIOLENCE, OREGON COALITION AGAINST DOMESTIC & SEXUAL VIOLENCE, VERMONT NETWORK AGAINST DOMESTIC & SEXUAL VIOLENCE, VIRGINIA SEXUAL & DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ACTION ALLIANCE, WISCONSIN COALITION AGAINST SEXUAL ASSAULT, WYOMING COALITION AGAINST DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND SEXUAL ASSAULT, BOSTON AREA RAPE CRISIS CENTER, DAY ONE, OASIS LEGAL SERVICES, PARENT-CHILD CENTER, RAPE/DOMESTIC ABUSE PROGRAM, SASA CRISIS CENTER, VOICES OF HOPE, and WOMEN'S CENTER FOR ADVANCEMENT.

Dimitri Portnoi, Alexander Slavin, O'Melveny & Myers, LLP, LOS ANGELES, CA, Maureen P. Alger, Sarah Rebecca Binning, John Dwyer, Emily Harrington, Cooley, LLP, PALO ALTO, CA, Shawn Thomas Meerkamper, Transgender Law Center, OAKLAND, CA, Shannon Price Minter, National Center for Lesbian Rights, WASHINGTON, DC, Asaf Orr, National Center For Lesbian Rights, SAN FRANCISCO, CA, Kyle C. Wong, Cooley, LLP, SAN DIEGO, CA, for Amicus Curiae GENDER SPECTRUM.

Andrew W. Amend, New York State Attorney General's Office, NEW YORK, NY, for Amici Curiae STATE OF NEW YORK, STATE OF WASHINGTON, STATE OF CALIFORNIA, STATE OF CONNECTICUT, STATE OF DELAWARE, STATE OF HAWAII, STATE OF ILLINOIS, STATE OF IOWA, STATE OF MAINE, STATE OF MARYLAND, STATE OF MASSACHUSETTS, STATE OF MICHIGAN, STATE OF MINNESOTA, STATE OF NEW JERSEY, STATE OF NEW MEXICO, STATE OF OREGON, STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA, STATE OF RHODE ISLAND, STATE OF VERMONT, STATE OF VIRGINIA, and DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

Jin Hee Lee, NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc., NEW YORK, NY, for Amicus Curiae NAACP LEGAL DEFENSE & EDUCATIONAL FUND, INC.

Maureen P. Alger, Sarah Rebecca Binning, John Dwyer, Emily Harrington, Cooley, LLP, PALO ALTO, CA, Shawn Thomas Meerkamper, Transgender Law Center, OAKLAND, CA, Shannon Price Minter, National Center for Lesbian Rights, WASHINGTON, DC, Asaf Orr, National Center For Lesbian Rights, SAN FRANCISCO, CA, Kyle C. Wong, Cooley, LLP, SAN DIEGO, CA, for Amici Curiae PFLAG, INC., TRANS YOUTH EQUALITY FOUNDATION, GENDER DIVERSITY, and JACKSONVILLE AREA SEXUAL MINORITY YOUTH NETWORK, INC.

Clifford Warren Berlow, Jenner & Block, LLP, CHICAGO, IL, for Amicus Curiae MEDICAL, NURSING, MENTAL HEALTH, AND OTHER I HEALTH CARE ORGANIZATIONS.

Before WILLIAM PRYOR, Chief Judge, MARTIN and JILL PRYOR, Circuit Judges.

MARTIN, Circuit Judge:

On the day the original panel decision issued in this appeal, an active member of this Court withheld issuance of the mandate.

In an effort to get broader support among our colleagues, we vacate the opinion issued on August 7, 2020, Adams ex rel. Kasper v. School Board of St. Johns County, 968 F.3d 1286 (11th Cir. 2020), and replace it with this one. This revised opinion does not reach the Title IX question and reaches only one ground under the Equal Protection Clause instead of the three Equal Protection rulings we made in the August 7 opinion.

Drew Adams is a young man and recent graduate of Nease High School in Florida's St. Johns County School District (the "School District"). Mr. Adams is transgender, meaning when he was born, doctors assessed his sex and wrote "female" on his birth certificate, but today Mr. Adams knows "with every fiber of [his] being" that he is a boy. While Mr. Adams attended Nease High School, school officials considered him a boy in all respects but one: he was forbidden to use the boys’ restroom. Instead, Mr. Adams had the option of using the multi-stall girls’ restrooms, which he found profoundly "insult[ing]." Or he could use a single-stall gender-neutral bathroom, which he found "isolati[ng]," "depress[ing]," "humiliating," and burdensome. After unsuccessful negotiations with the School District over his bathroom use, Mr. Adams brought suit against the St. Johns County School Board (the "School Board")1 through his next friend and mother, Ms. Erica Adams Kasper. He asserted violations of his rights under Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 ("Title IX"), 20 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq., and the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. After a bench trial, the District Court entered judgment in favor of Mr. Adams on both claims, awarding him injunctive relief and damages as well.

We affirm the District Court's judgment. We conclude the School...

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5 cases
  • Neese v. Becerra
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Northern District of Texas
    • November 11, 2022
    ...F.3d 318, 324 (6th Cir. 2021) (“[T]he rule in Bostock extends no further than Title VII.”); Adams v. Sch. Bd. of St. James Cnty., Fla., 3 F.4th 1299,1336 (11th Cir. 2021) (Pryor, C.J., dissenting) (stating Bostock's reasoning applies to Title VII, not Title IX). One cannot rely on the words......
  • D.T. v. Christ
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Arizona
    • August 5, 2021
    ...See Bostock v. Clayton Cnty., Ga. , ––– U.S. ––––, 140 S. Ct. 1731, 1737, 207 L.Ed.2d 218 (2020) ; Adams v. Sch. Bd. of St. Johns Cty. , 3 F.4th 1299, 1307–08 (11th Cir. 2021) ; Grimm v. Gloucester Cnty. Sch. Bd. , 972 F.3d 586, 606–08 (4th Cir. 2020) ; Whitaker v. Kenosha Unified Sch. Dist......
  • Stollings v. Tex. Tech Univ.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Northern District of Texas
    • August 25, 2021
    ... ... Tex. 2011) (citing ... Cnty. of Cameron v. Brown , 80 S.W.3d 549, 554 (Tex ... 2002)). The ... government under Texas law. Mission Consol. Indep. Sch ... Dist. v. Garcia , 253 S.W.3d 653, 659 (Tex. 2008) ... holding on the definition of “sex”); Adams v ... Sch. Brd. Of St. Johns Cnty. , 3 F4th 1299, 1321 (11th ... ...
  • D.H. v. Williamson Cnty. Bd. of Educ.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Middle District of Tennessee
    • November 2, 2022
    ...the Act. [11] The Fourth, Seventh, and Eleventh Circuits have considered this issue. See Adams v. School Bd. of St. Johns Cty., Fla., 3 F.4th 1299 (11th Cir. 2021), vacated pending rehearing en banc, 9 F.4fth 1369 (11th Cir. 2021); Grimm v. Gloucester Cty. Sch. Bd., 972 F.3d 586 (4th Cir. 2......
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6 books & journal articles
  • Equal Protection
    • United States
    • Georgetown Journal of Gender and the Law No. XXIII-2, January 2022
    • January 1, 2022
    ...identity when his school barred him from using the boys’ bathroom. 141 While the 132. See e.g., Adams v. Sch. Bd. of St. Johns Cnty., 3 F.4th 1299, 1320 (11th Cir. 2021), reh’g en banc granted , 9 F.4th 1369 (11th Cir. 2021). 133. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; Bostock v. Clayto......
  • Athletics and title IX of the 1972 education amendments
    • United States
    • Georgetown Journal of Gender and the Law No. XXIV-2, January 2023
    • January 1, 2023
    ...Bd. of St. Johns Cnty., 968 F.3d 1286, 1305 (11th Cir. 2020) (ruling for student plaintiff on Title IX question) vacated and superseded by 3 F.4th 1299 (July 14, 2021) (declining to reach the Title IX question); Koenke v. Saint Joseph’s Univ., No. CV 19-4731, 2021 WL 75778, at *2 (E.D. Pa. ......
  • Protecting Transgender Youth After Bostock: Sex Classification, Sex Stereotypes, and the Future of Equal Protection.
    • United States
    • Yale Law Journal Vol. 132 No. 4, February 2023
    • February 1, 2023
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  • Athletics & title IX of the 1972 education amendments
    • United States
    • Georgetown Journal of Gender and the Law No. XXIII-2, January 2022
    • January 1, 2022
    ...Bd. of St. Johns Cnty., 968 F.3d 1286, 1305 (11th Cir. 2020) (ruling for student plaintiff on Title IX question) vacated and superseded by 3 F.4th 1299 (July 14, 2021) (declining to reach the Title IX question); Koenke v. Saint Joseph’s Univ., No. CV 19-4731, 2021 WL 75778, at *2 (E.D. Pa. ......
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