Robins Kaplan Achieves Landmark Settlement in LGBTQ Discrimination Lawsuit Against South Dakota

February 5, 2024

Robins Kaplan LLP is pleased to announce a key victory secured on behalf of the Transformation Project, a nonprofit organization providing suicide prevention and healthcare support for transgender individuals across South Dakota, following the state’s abrupt cancellation of the organization’s contract for a community health worker.

As part of the settlement, the state of South Dakota will pay $300,000 and issue a public apology.

The Transformation Project received approximately $136,000 in federal funds to hire and train a community health worker to connect LGBTQ community members to healthcare. However, the Deputy Health Secretary issued a cancellation letter in December, citing alleged contract violations, after the position had already been filled. The group, which only received about $39,000 of contract funds, disputed these claims and asserted they had complied with contract terms. Shortly after, Robins Kaplan stepped in to represent the organization, filing a federal lawsuit alleging the contract termination was unconstitutional and discriminatory. 

"This settlement marks a significant milestone in our ongoing commitment to civil rights advocacy," said Brendan Johnson, lead attorney representing the Transformation Project. "We commend the resiliency of the LGBTQ community and remain committed to vigorously upholding their rights.”

Robins Kaplan attorneys Erica Ramsey, Timothy Billion, Thad Titze, and Jordan Rice also represented the Transformation Project in this case.

Brendan V. Johnson

Partner

Chair, National Business Litigation Group
Co-Chair, Government and Internal Investigations Group

Jordan Rice

Associate

Pronouns: he/him

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