Plaintiff in this case was a 45-year-old transsexual (male to female) who sought treatment from a psychotherapist when he was a woman to help him through the sexual transition. Plaintiff alleged that before the operation, the defendant female psychotherapist took him into her house and began a sexual relationship with him while treatment continued.
Plaintiff had the sex change operation and the sexual relationship between the plaintiff and the defendant therapist continued. Plaintiff alleged that the relationship ended when the therapist decided that plaintiff was no longer of any use to her.
The defendant denied all of the allegations of the plaintiff and claimed that the plaintiff had threatened her on numerous occasions. Further, the defense claimed that a jury would not take the case seriously because of the transsexual aspects.
The law offices of Winer, McKenna, Burritt & Tillis LLP, took on the case and developed evidence which indicated that plaintiff spent considerable time in the defendant’s home and that plaintiff could describe in detail private information about defendant including sexual devices that she used. A patient should never know of this type of information about a therapist. The law firm hired a jury consultant and performed a mock trial/focus group in front of 12 potential jurors in the same county and found that, at first, the transsexuality aspects of the case disturbed the jurors; however, within a short period of time they were comfortable with that part of the case and felt angry at the actions of the defendant. Based on this, the law firm continued toward trial of the case.
RESULT: Settlement in favor of plaintiff for $750,000.