Civil Rights

Counsel Will Waive Hefty Legal Fees If Mass. Doesn't Appeal Inmate's Sex-Change Surgery Award


A federal judge in Boston has ruled that the Massachusetts Department of Correction will have to pay legal fees for the plaintiff in a successful civil rights suit in which she won an award of state-paid sex-change surgery.

The attorney’s fees in the case are “likely to be large,” pointed out U.S. District Court Chief Judge Mark L. Wolf in his Sunday ruling. He suggested that the two sides sit down and try to work out a resolution to avoid the additional expense of an appeal, the Boston Herald reports.

Lawyers for the plaintiff, Michelle Lynn Kosilek, 63, say they are willing to waive their attorney fees—although they would still seek costs—if the state agrees not to appeal Wolf’s ruling that Massachusetts must provide the medically necessary sex-change surgery for Kosilek, the Associated Press reports. The total legal bill, Kosilek’s lawyers say, could approach $500,000.

She changed her name 20 years ago and has had hormone treatment to assume female body characteristics after being convicted, as Robert Kosilek, in the 1990 strangulation murder of his wife, Cheryl.

The Boston Globe’s MetroDesk blog also has a story.

Additional coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “In Landmark Ruling, Federal Judge Says Sex-Change Surgery for Murder Inmate Is Medically Necessary”

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