A team of lawyers led by Tim Griffin and Andrew Davis, partners at Stinson LLP, came to the student’s defense in a case that captured national interest as disputes over school locker rooms and bathrooms have reached a crescendo in many states. Davis had previously worked on pro bono transgender cases with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), driven by a sense of justice and struggles he has experienced within his own family.
“I feel passionately about transgender rights issues because, like many people, I have a family member who is gender nonconforming, so I have seen how these issues can play out at a very personal level,” Davis says. “It was an issue that I cared about and wanted to get involved in.”
In addition to Davis and Griffin, the attorney team for N.H. versus Anoka Hennepin included the ACLU’s Teresa Nelson and David McKinney and Gender Justice’s Christy L. Hall and Jess Braverman. “It was a highly effective and deeply committed team,” Davis says.
Several years after the student had been banned, the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled that the district violated Nick H’s rights under the Minnesota Constitution and the Minnesota Human Rights Act. The court held that transgender and gender nonconforming students can use school facilities that align with their gender identity.
The case included a payment of $300,000 to Nick along with sweeping policy changes and educational requirements in the school district.
“I think it’s a very important case,” Davis says. “It established clarity in the law and a clear line for school districts and school boards to follow, and what they must do to accommodate trans students’ use of school facilities.”
Read more about Minnesota Lawyer’s superb class of Attorneys of the Year for 2021 here.
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