Cases & Advocacy

Edmo v. Idaho Department of Correction

NCLR, along with co-counsel Rifkin Law Office, Hadsell Stormer & Renick LLP, and Ferguson Durham, PLLC, represents Adree Edmo, a Native American transgender woman in the custody of the Idaho Department of Correction (IDOC).

Adree Edmo
Adree Edmo

After a three-day evidentiary hearing on Ms. Edmo’s motion for a preliminary injunction, Judge B. Lynn Winmill issued an order on December 13, 2018 requiring IDOC and IDOC’s medical provider Corizon to provide Ms. Edmo with medically urgent healthcare, including gender confirmation surgery. IDOC and Corizon appealed the district court’s order to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

On August 23, 2019, a unanimous panel of the Ninth Circuit ruled that that IDOC must provide medically necessary gender confirmation surgery to Ms. Edmo. The Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the district court ordering IDOC to provide this life-saving treatment for severe gender dysphoria.

In an 85-page opinion, the Ninth Circuit concluded that Ms. Edmo “has a serious medical need, that the appropriate medical treatment is GCS [gender confirmation surgery], and that prison authorities have not provided that treatment despite full knowledge of Edmo’s ongoing and extreme suffering and medical needs.” The Court held that “the responsible prison authorities have been deliberately indifferent” to Ms. Edmo’s gender dysphoria in violation of the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution, which prohibits “cruel and unusual punishment.”

IDOC denied Ms. Edmo surgery for nearly five years despite Ms. Edmo’s clear and urgent need for it. In July 2020, however, Ms. Edmo received surgery after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to stay the injunction while the prison seeks review from that Court. “So much pressure and inner turmoil is gone,” said plaintiff Adree Edmo after her surgery. “I feel whole and connected in myself. The surgery itself was literally life-changing. I’m extremely grateful that I finally received the treatment.” On October 13, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court denied review of the underlying orders, making them final.