Judge rejects Denny's request to dismiss case brought by transgender individual

AUBURN — A judge rejected an effort by Denny's to dismiss a case against the local restaurant brought by a transgendered woman who was denied use of the women's restroom. The ruling clears the way for the case to continue to trial.

Androscoggin County Superior Court Justice William Brodrick wrote that the Maine Human Rights Act is aimed at preventing discrimination in public accommodation on account of sexual orientation. The law goes on to define sexual orientation as “a person's actual or perceived heterosexuality, bisexuality, homosexuality or gender identity or expression.”

Brodrick wrote: “The court bases its decision on the plain language of the statute and concludes that, when viewing the facts in a light most favorable to the plaintiff, Ms. Freeman has adequately plead a claim that Denny's prohibited her from using the women's restroom because of her sexual orientation.”

Jennifer Levi, a Boston lawyer who is representing Freeman, said she was pleased by the judge's ruling. She believes this case is the first test of the 2005 Maine law and could set a precedent.

Patrick Mellor, a Rockland attorney representing Denny's, declined to comment on the specifics of Brodrick's decision, but said he was hopeful the two sides would be able to reach agreement.

Freeman brought her complaint first to the Maine Human Rights Commission, whose investigator found reasonable grounds for the basis of her complaint.

Brianna Freeman, previously Bruce, 45, of Lewiston filed a lawsuit last year against Realty Resources Hospitality, doing business as Denny's Restaurant at 211 Court St., where she had been a regular customer.

She was refused use of the women's bathroom at the restaurant in October 2007. Using the women's bathroom was part of her medically recommended gender transition process, she wrote in court papers.

She wears women's clothing, makeup, jewelry and perfume.

In a related ruling, Justice Brodrick granted the restaurant owner's other motion to dismiss the case for failure to state a claim in regard to disability and sexual discrimination. Nevertheless, the case will proceed to trial on the discrimination in public accommodation on account of sexual orientation complaint.

Denny's had asked for a jury trial, but after Freeman changed her complaint withdrawing her request for compensatory and punitive damages, the judge rejected the restaurant's motion for a jury trial.

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Comments

RONALD RIML's picture

Bingo!!!

Group?? You're "Multiple Personality Disorder!!"

While you're running around trying to figure out which Washroom you should be heading for, you find yourself pizzing all over the floor at Denny's.

Congratulations!! Now go clean up after yourselves.......

 's picture

you are a sick individual.

go seek professional help.

Dave Bussey's picture

What ever you ID says

What ever you ID says is the public restroom you have to use!!

And that's the way it is, Monday, June 14, 2010. We should not have complicated rules, because life is not complicated, and we don't need them. Right?

Wrong.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

What's a scared little boy at

What's a scared little boy at a playground doing worrying about his sexual identity?

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

That was then; this is

That was then; this is now...Generational evolution is the process of acceptance. There....is that better?

RONALD RIML's picture

The Captains' Boy, The Captain's Boy...

The Captains' Boy, The Captain's Boy...

He was quite the Pipper!

Shoved broken glass, up his azz - And circumcised the Skipper!!

Jan Bachelder's picture

HOW?

did anyone know that "Brianna" wasn't female? I would think if "she" dresses femanine, wears makeup and looks like a girl, unless "she" was broadcasting it then no one would have known. A bit of attention perhaps?

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

The big problem, FM, is that

The big problem, FM, is that anyone who choses to engage in deviant behavior insists on immediate acceptance from the rest of us. You evolution freaks will really like this....the acceptance must come through an evolutionary process. It takes time.

Dave Bussey's picture

Evolution freaks

Life is simple. Read the Christian Bible and it will tell you everything you need to know about how to lead your life. That is, the rules change. Why should the rules change? Ask the author(s?). One Old Testament day it's ok to kill every man woman and child in an enemy city because somebody in the city committed "offences," and the next day, a New Testament day, you're supposed to turn the other cheek if somebody walks up to you in the street and pops you in the nose. Who could be happy with a world where the rules are always changing like that? What we need is a biblical law without all the mamby pamby nonsense about caring for the poor and feeding the hungry and so forth. Everybody knows that we all get exactly what we deserve, and if we're rich, we deserve to be rich. If we're born into a group that's currently out of favor with the majority, it's because we deserved it. Black, French, Jewish, Irish (you know about the signs hung above the doors of factories that said "No Irish need apply"?) -- just accept it, don't go trying to rock the boat. Not.

RONALD RIML's picture

And the bigger problem....

Is the inability to understand that deviance is most usually the norm, while the 'Norm' rarely 'is'.....

Folks are always so adept at putting up such nice veneers....

Melissa  Dunn's picture

well said formermainer! =]

well said formermainer! =]

RONALD RIML's picture

And you don't post your identity

1. Because you're a bigot and/or

2. You like to threaten folks with your machismo about what you'de do outside that washroom...

Yep - sounds like a plan!!!

If we trusted the Country with George Bush, there should be no problem letting a few kids go camping with a transgendered individual. At least that person adequately assessed their situation and figured out when to quit playing the role......

RONALD RIML's picture

You'll be in there breeding with her???

Perhaps that won't be a surprise......

DANNY FITZSIMMONS's picture

Hey WTF Cool I can dress like

Hey WTF Cool I can dress like a woman and go cop a looke in the girls room Look at me I am watching your wife,mother or daughter and I have unclean thoughts!! This is outright sickening WE MUST GET A PETITION TO STOP THIS!!! After all it is like it was said before the vote to give homosexuals rights against discrimination IF YOU GIVE THEM AN INCH THEY WANT A MILE!!! what did you expect !!! the same holds true about the thought about homosexuality being taught in schools!!! We can expect more from the SCUM BUMS IN AGAYSTA after all most of them are as queer as a 3 dollar bill!!!

RONALD RIML's picture

Danny, dress like a woman all you want...

But if, as you say, it's to "Cop a look in the Girl's room" - then it's obvious you don't meet the standard of having the appropriate "Sexual Orientation" for that particular facility. "Plumbing" isn't the determining factor - "Orientation" is.

You'de just be outing yourself as the lascivious, leering, depraved pervert that I used to arrest "back in the day" watching other folks in the bathroom - and not someone dealing with gender identity.

RONALD RIML's picture

K0NPHL1C7 doesn't even know how

To register here under his/her/it's own name.

And we're supposed to take he/she/it seriously regarding sexual identity??

Melissa  Dunn's picture

The law goes on to define

The law goes on to define sexual orientation as “a person's actual or perceived heterosexuality, bisexuality, homosexuality or gender identity or expression.”...

enough said!

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Girls will be boys and boys

Girls will be boys and boys will be girls, it's a mixed up, muddled up, shook up world except for LOLA, L-O-L-A...(and Bruce).

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