Lawyers for Warren County Common Pleas Judge Joe Kirby filed a motion for dismissal of a federal lawsuit filed over transgender name change decisions. STAFF/LAWRENCE BUDD

Warren County judge’s lawyers: Dismiss transgender name change lawsuit

The request meets a deadline set in the lawsuit filed on behalf of three families who claim Judge Joe Kirby discriminated against them by rejecting name changes sought for their transgender children in juvenile court in Warren County.

RELATED: Judge says ‘not yet’ to transgender teen’s name change

Judge William Bertelsman is provided five reasons to dismiss the case, including a law preventing federal judges from interfering in state court cases.

“Federal courts are not to act as courts of appeal over the decisions of state courts,” lawyer Aaron Glasgow wrote in the motion filed on Friday in U.S. District Court. That was in reference to the one case on which Kirby has already ruled and is on appeal in the Ohio 12th District Court of Appeals in Middletown.

RELATED: Mason family appealing transgender name change denial

In reference to the claim made by one family in a case Kirby has yet to rule on, Glasgow said, “By seeking a declaration that Judge Kirby’s anticipated decision would be unlawful, plaintiffs are essentially asking this court to intervene in that proceeding, as well as dictate to Judge Kirby what his decision must be on that pending application,” Glasgow added.

The third family has yet to file for a name change.

MORE: Transgender teen killed on I-71 left suicide note

The motion also includes cases in which Kirby has granted transgender name changes.

In addition, Glasgow said, “Kirby is entitled to absolute immunity from civil liability” and “had a rational basis for his decision rejecting the name change.”


The case already on appeal came after Kirby rejected a name change request from a Mason teen, 15.

Stephanie and Kylen Whitaker filed for the name change on April 24 in Warren County Juvenile Court on behalf of their 15-year-old child.

The judge said the change was not “reasonable and proper and in the child’s best interest at this time.”

The second case involves a pending case, while the third, by a defendant identified only as Jane Doe, has not filed for a name change in the probate court in Warren County.

Joshua Engel and Anne Tamashasky, two lawyers representing the families, have withdrawn from the case.

Engel predicted the case would turn on the issue of federal judges ruling on state court judges’ cases.

RELATED: Warren County families want quick action in transgender name change lawsuit

The other lawyer, Joshua Langdon, could not be reached.

Thank you for reading the Journal-News and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.

Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Journal-News. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.