Knight v. St. Joseph Health (Sex Discrimination)

Closed Case
Mar 12, 2019

The ACLU Foundation of Northern California, the ACLU Foundation of Southern California and the law firm Rukin Hyland & Riggin LLP filed a lawsuit on March 21, 2019 on behalf of Oliver Knight, a 29-year-old transgender man who was denied health care based on the hospital’s religious views, which do not recognize gender-affirming care.

On August 30, 2017, minutes before Mr. Knight was scheduled to receive a hysterectomy, the St. Joseph Hospital in Eureka canceled his surgery. St. Joseph regularly allows hysterectomies for patients who are not transgender and Knight’s doctor said he and other physicians regularly perform the procedure. The discriminatory denial was because Mr. Knight is transgender.

St. Joseph is owned by the Providence St. Joseph Health Network, one of the largest health systems in the country—operating 51 hospitals, with over 25,000 physicians—and in the state of California, where it operates 18 hospitals. In Eureka, where Knight sought and was denied access to medical services, St. Joseph Hospital is the only provider within 25 miles. 

Case Closed January 31, 2023: Settled.

Case Developments