Judge rules detransitioner Chloe Cole's malpractice suit against Kaiser Permanente can move forward to discovery

Judge Robert Waters wrote that Kaiser "failed to meet their prima facie burden in showing that a valid agreement between the parties at issue exists in this case."

Hannah Nightingale Washington DC

Detransitioner Chloe Cole’s lawsuit against Kaiser Permanente for medical malpractice will be allowed to move forward after the Superior Court of California County of San Joaquin ruled on Monday that Kaiser’s arbitration agreement cannot be enforced against Cole. 

Judge Robert Waters wrote that Kaiser "failed to meet their prima facie burden in showing that a valid agreement between the parties at issue exists in this case," adding that Cole’s mother had signed agreements to arbitrate in 2004 and 2005 "specifically referencing arbitration agreements in 2004 and 2005," and that these agreements have gone through changes since then. 

"Moreover, in the wake of the 2004 and 2005 agreements discussed above, there is also no evidence or explanation as to how, why, or if the Plaintiff’s mother’s union could somehow bind Plaintiff to the 'future arbitration agreements.'" 

"We move forward now with discovery. This is huge," wrote Harmeet Dhillon. 

Cole, then 18, launched a lawsuit against Kaiser in November 2022. She was put on puberty blockers and testosterone at age 13, had a double mastectomy at 15, and then detransitioned at 16. 

A letter of intent to sue, sent in early November 2022 to medical professionals that "performed, supervised, and/or advised transgender hormone therapy and surgical intervention for Chloe when she was between 13-17 years old," stated that the providers "coerced Chloe and her parents to undergo what amounted to a medical experiment by propagating two lies." 

The first of these lies is that they "falsely informed Chloe and her parents that Chloe’s gender dysphoria would not resolve unless Chloe socially and medical transitioned to appear more like a male," and second they informed "Chloe and her parents that Chloe was at a high risk for suicide, unless she socially and medically transitioned to appear more like a male." 

The letter cited a question that was told to Cole and her parents by the doctors: "Would you rather have a dead daughter or a live son?" 

The letter noted that the majority of gender dysphoria cases resolve when a child reaches adulthood, and that Cole and her parents were not informed of this possibility. They were also not informed "of other legitimate options such as monitoring Chloe’s psychological condition and/or receiving non-invasive psychological or psychiatric counseling or treatment. Instead, Defendants fraudulently concealed this information from Chloe and fraudulently informed Chloe that the only way to resolve her psychological condition was to undergo physical, chemical, and social transition to a male role." 

The letter also stated that "a long-term follow-up population-based study found that gender dysphoric individuals who undergo sex reassignment continue to have considerably higher risks for mortality, suicidal behavior, and psychiatric morbidity as compared with the general population." 

Instead of her gender dysphoria resolving with such treatment, "At each phase of transition, she experienced some initial relief, but the distress always came back worse," and her mental health declined as treatment continued, notably worsening after receiving a double mastectomy

"Eventually, Chloe realized that the answer to her struggle was not surgery and hormones, as she had been advised, but a shift in her mental perspective. She realized that the only way she would be happy is if she mentally accepted her biological sex and chose to live a life that aligned with her natural sex" 

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