The Lackawanna County prison dropped its opposition to a federal judge’s order and will continue to administer hormone therapy treatment to a transgender inmate.
The agreement in the case of Steven Fritz, also known as Sparkles Wilson, was reached Monday prior to a hearing U.S. District Judge Robert D. Mariani scheduled to determine if the treatments must continue pending resolution of a lawsuit Fritz filed.
The suit, filed by Scranton attorneys Curt Parkins and Matthew Comerford, alleges the denial of treatment amounted to cruel and unusual punishment. In addition to restoring treatment, the suit seeks more than $1 million in compensatory and punitive damages.
Mariani last week issued a temporary restraining order mandating the prison administer Fritz, 44, of Scranton, two forms of estrogen she was taking to aid her transition from a biological male to a female.
Joseph “Jody” Healey,attorney for the prison’s medical provider, Edward Zaloga, D.O., of Correctional Care Inc., challenged the order, citing Zaloga’s concerns about possible side effects.
Healey on Monday told the judge Zaloga agreed to continue the treatment so long as Fritz acknowledges she has been advised of the potential side effects. David Heisler, attorney for the county and prison, concurred with the agreement.
Healey declined to comment after the hearing regarding why Zaloga altered his stance. Heisler said the county’s primary was concern was ensuring Fritz acknowledged she was aware of the side effects.
The agreement resolves the restraining order issue, but does not end the lawsuit, which remains pending.
“This has nothing to do with the merits of the case,” Heisler said. “We are not giving up any position we are taking, but while this is going on, we will allow the court to extend the temporary restraining order.”
It’s not clear how much longer Fritz will be held at the county prison. She…