Cases & Advocacy

In re Doe

Status: Closed

Outcome: Victory

Location: Michigan

Jane Doe is the mother of three children in a rural community in the Midwest. From a young age, Jane’s middle child expressed that they may be transgender. Jane sought the advice of professionals on how to respond to her child’s statements. Those professionals reiterated the importance of supporting the child. Following that advice, Jane started using a new name for her child and bought the child clothes that were more consistent with the child’s gender identity. The local child-protective services agency, however, believed that Jane’s conduct constituted abuse and neglect and removed the children from Jane’s home.

NCLR and Kirkland & Ellis LLP represented Jane and were able to demonstrate that Jane’s response to her child’s statements were neither abuse or neglect. The Court declined to take jurisdiction over Jane’s children and returned them to her home.

After the court’s ruling, Jane continued to support her child as she had done in the past, but unfortunately, a second abuse-and-neglect petition was filed against her for the same conduct. NCLR and Kirkland & Ellis LLP again represented Jane and defended her against those allegations. After a two-day jury trial, the jury found the allegations to be true and the Court took jurisdiction over Jane’s children. The jury verdict was appealed to the state’s supreme court. The state supreme court immediately dismissed the findings regarding Jane’s nontransgender children and agreed to hear the appeal regarding Jane’s transgender child. In response, the state’s Attorney General moved to dismiss those findings and state supreme court agreed. All of the jury findings that Jane abused or neglected her children were dismissed and vacated.