Class action lawsuit granted in challenge to Florida's transgender treatment law

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A federal judge Wednesday said a lawsuit challenging new Florida restrictions on treatments for transgender people will move forward as a class action. 

U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle issued a 15-page order that "certified" a class action in the lawsuit filed on behalf of transgender children and adults. 

The plaintiffs are challenging a new law (SB 254), championed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, that banned doctors from providing treatments such as hormone therapy and puberty blockers to transgender children. The law also put restrictions on treatments for adults diagnosed with gender dysphoria. 

Attorneys for the state in August urged Hinkle to reject a request from the plaintiffs to certify the case as a class action. The state argued that class certification would be "entirely inappropriate," in part because of varying factors involving individual plaintiffs. But Hinkle on Wednesday rejected such arguments, saying the "case will turn almost entirely on common issues" with common answers. 

"The (state) defendants assert … that providing class relief will require individual determinations of the circumstances and appropriate care of each individual," Hinkle wrote. "Not so. Commonality requires common questions with common answers and is not defeated just because a case also presents individual issues. Indeed, nearly all class actions potentially present individual questions about whether individuals qualify for whatever classwide relief may ultimately be granted." 

Hinkle’s order approved a class for all transgender adults in Florida "who seek gender-affirming treatment with puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, or surgery." He also created a class for all transgender minors "who seek gender-affirming treatment with puberty blockers or cross-sex hormones and their parents." 

In addition, he created a sub-class because part of the law allowed some minors to continue receiving treatments if they had already started.