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Tipsheet

Trans Inmate Who Sued Idaho Awarded Over $2 Million in Legal Fees

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A federal judge has ordered Idaho’s prison health care provider to pay more than $2.5 million in legal fees to a biological male transgender inmate who received “gender-affirming” surgery while imprisoned. 

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Adree Edmo, the inmate at the center of the lawsuit, sued the state and the Idaho Department of Correction’s medical care provider, Corizon, in 2017. Reportedly, Edmo claimed their Eighth Amendment rights against cruel and unusual punishment were violated after being denied transgender "gender-affirming" surgery, according to Boise-based outlet KTVB.

Edmo reportedly identified as female and was housed in a men’s prison facility to reportedly serve a 10-year sentence for sexually abusing a 15-year-old boy. KTVB reported that Edmo's lawsuit requested a legal name change, women’s clothing, trans surgery, and to be transferred to a women’s prison (via KTVB):

U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill ruled in 2018 that the state must provide Edmo with the surgery and said that continuing to deny the treatment would place her at risk of irreparable harm. Edmo had shown that she had a serious medical need for the surgery because she had severe gender dysphoria — a condition that occurs when the incongruity between a person's assigned gender and their gender identity is so severe that it impairs their ability to function.

The state appealed Winmill's ruling. It was two more years before Edmo received the gender confirmation surgery, becoming the second person in the U.S. to undergo the surgery while incarcerated. She was transferred to a women's prison to serve the remainder of her sentence, and was released in 2021.

During the appeal process, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed Edmo's claims that Idaho Department of Correction employees and officials were “deliberately indifferent” to her medical needs. But the appellate court did find that a Corizon physician was deliberately indifferent in the case.

Edmo asked Winmill to award her more than $2.8 million in attorney's fees and other court expenses. She was represented in the case by seven different attorneys, including Boise attorneys Deborah Ferguson and Craig Durham, lawyers with the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and representatives from several other law firms.

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The judge lowered the $2.8 million figure in attorney fees to $2.5 million. In December, Corizon and the Idaho Department of Correction agreed that Corizon will pay the cost of any legal fees awarded to Edmo. The $2.5 million will reportedly not come out of taxpayer dollars.

In April, a federal court ordered the Federal Bureau of Prisons to secure “gender-affirming” surgery for a transgender prisoner, which Townhall covered. The prisoner had initially had their request for transgender surgery denied. 

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