California DMV Clerk’s Letter Nets Transgender Woman $55K

August 17, 2011

A transgender woman has received a $55,000 settlement from the California Department of Motor Vehicles and a former clerk who sent the woman a harassing letter at home after helping her obtain a new driver’s license.

San Francisco resident Amber Yust had sued the DMV and former employee Thomas Demartini in February for the invasion of privacy and emotional distress she says she suffered when she received the letter calling her gender change a “very evil decision” that would condemn her to hell.

Yust’s lawyer, Christopher Dolan, tells the San Francisco Chronicle that the settlement calls for the state to pay $40,000 in damages and Demartini to pay $15,000. Demartini quit in December while Yust’s complaint was being investigated.

Transgender Law Center legal director Kristina Wertz says the department also has agreed to provide transgender sensitivity training to its staff.

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