Buckley Beal Files New Lawsuit Against Lakeview Behavioral Health For Transgender Discrimination


Suit filed under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as well as Negligence, Assault and Battery, and other State Law Torts

Buckley Beal, the law firm that prevailed in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case affirming LGBTQ rights, has filed a lawsuit on behalf of Plaintiff Samantha Jolley against Lakeview Behavioral Health as a result of the behavioral health facility’s grossly discriminatory actions toward Ms. Jolley related to her status as a transgender female when she was admitted as a patient in February 2019.

The lawsuit alleges that at the time of her admission for suicidal ideation, Ms. Jolley (then legally named Sean Jolley), identified as a transgender female, had a prior diagnosis of gender dysphoria, and took estrogen medication for purposes of transitioning to a female. Lakeview’s staff denied her estrogen medication as well as access to effective medication or a physician to treat her for a chronic headache condition. Then, Ms. Jolley alleges that the Lakeview staff subjected her to a strip search by opposite-sex male nurses contrary to its practice of requiring same-sex nurses for all strip searches. When she protested that she was a transgender female and requested a female nurse, the male nurses mockingly asked, “you have a penis, right?” During the subsequent invasive search, Lakeview’s male nurses required Ms. Jolley to strip naked and refused to allow her to cover her breasts while they examined her unclothed body. For the pat-down, although she was allowed to put her clothes back on, the male nurses still patted down her breasts and her upper inner thighs near her genitals, making her highly uncomfortable.

Andrew Beal, Anita Bala, and Milinda Brown

Lakeview staff ridiculed her for having sex organs from both sexes, used inappropriate gender pronouns including mocking her as both “Mr. and Ms.,” and made other highly offensive comments, such as calling her a “pill-seeking tranny” when she asked for headache medicine, and describing her as “a guy who thinks he’s a girl.” Ms. Jolley asked for a patient advocate to assist in her treatment, but the patient advocate also joined in the discriminatory attitude toward her gender identification. Finally, the Complaint alleges, Lakeview staff openly discussed her transgender status with other patients, who harassed her during her admission, which Lakeview took no action to address. Ultimately, Ms. Jolley left the facility two days later because the medical environment was so intolerably discriminatory, she could no longer remain in Lakeview’s care.

Buckley Beal Partner Anita Bala commented: “Our Complaint seeks to address what appears to be the absence of any policy or recognition on the part of Lakeview that transgender individuals have rights to a medical environment free from discrimination on the basis of their sex. What occurred to Ms. Jolley is a completely unacceptable failure to acknowledge transgender rights in an environment that is supposed to support our most vulnerable citizens, a behavioral and mental health facility.”

Buckley Beal attorneys Andrew Beal, Anita Bala, and Milinda Brown, represent Ms. Jolley in her lawsuit, which was recently filed in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Georgia.

About Buckley Beal, LLP

Buckley Beal is a preeminent civil rights and employment litigation firm headquartered in Atlanta. With an outstanding reputation for winning cases at trial and on appeal, the firm specializes in handling cases on behalf of employees and other individuals involving discrimination, retaliation, and harassment, and other civil rights matters. For more information about Buckley Beal, visit  www.buckleybeal.com.

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