Judge sued for denying name changes to transgender juveniles wins case dismissal

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A federal judge in Cincinnati on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit that claimed an Ohio judge discriminated against transgender juveniles by denying their name change requests.

U.S. District Judge William Bertelsman ordered the dismissal of the suit against Judge Joseph Kirby of Lebanon, Ohio, report the Cincinnati Enquirer and the Dayton Daily News.

Bertelsman said Kirby is immune from suit. “If not for that immunity,” he wrote, “the judge could be sued by the losing party in every case, especially if the judge is reversed on appeal. This would result in chaos in the court system.”

Kirby had been sued by the parents of three transgender youths who sought or planned to seek name changes. Kirby has ruled on only one of the name change requests, and the appeal of that decision is pending in state court.

Bertelsman said the state court appeal is the appropriate way to proceed, and his reasoning applies to all three sets of plaintiffs. “The proper way to challenge an adverse judgment is to appeal, not to sue the judge,” he wrote.

Related article:

ABAJournal.com: “Judge who denied name changes for transgender teens is sued for alleged pattern of bias”

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