A federal judge on Friday dismissed a civil lawsuit against Kappa Kappa Gamma and the first openly transgender woman to join a sorority at the University of Wyoming. 

In a 41–page decision, U.S. District Judge Alan B. Johnson concluded that the plaintiffs in the case failed to adequately state a claim against Artemis Langford and her sorority.

“We are elated that the Court saw the allegations against Ms. Langford our way: as unsubstantiated and unbefitting of a federal court. As Ms. Langford outlined in her Motion to Dismiss, the allegations against her were largely unrelated to any legal claims the plaintiffs raised. But they are being used to crowdfund nonetheless,” Rachel Berkness, Langford’s attorney, said in a statement to WyoFile. “Ms. Langford can now return to campus and focus on being a student rather than having to worry about potentially defending herself against bogus claims.”

The suit came in response to Kappa Kappa Gamma admitting Langford into the sorority last fall. She was admitted by a vote of UW chapter’s membership, which Johnson noted in his decision.

“The University of Wyoming chapter voted to admit — and, more broadly, a sorority of hundreds of thousands approved — Langford,” Johnson wrote. “With its inquiry beginning and ending there, the Court will not define ‘woman’ today. The delegate of a private, voluntary organization interpreted ‘woman’, otherwise undefined in the non-profit’s bylaws, expansively; this Judge may not invade Kappa Kappa Gamma’s freedom of expressive association and inject the circumscribed definition Plaintiffs urge.” 


In April, six of Langford’s sorority sisters asked the federal court to void her membership because she is transgender. The plaintiffs, who originally sought anonymity in their suit, alleged in a 72-page complaint that the private organization broke its bylaws, breached housing contracts and misled members when it admitted Langford. 

The plaintiffs also accused Langford of “inappropropriate” behavior and said her attraction to women made her “more threatening.” But those allegations were not just irrelevant to the plaintiffs’ claims but “unbefitting in federal court,” according to the ruling. 

Berkness pointed to the significance of the judge using Langford’s correct pronouns, in contrast to the misgendering throughout the complaint. 

The ruling was “without prejudice,” a designation that leaves the plaintiffs the option to refile. 

A picture of the U.S. District Court in Cheyenne. The sign out front says "Joseph C O'Mahoney Federal Center United States Courthouse 2120 Capitol Avenue"
The U.S. District Court in Cheyenne. (Madelyn Beck/WyoFile)

Johnson, however, advised the plaintiffs to “devote more than 6% of their complaint to their legal claims against defendants,” if they choose to restart litigation.

“Plaintiffs should not copy and paste their complaint in lieu of elaboration or legal research that assists the Court in disentangling their claims,” Johnson added. 

Cassie Craven and John Knepper, legal counsel for the plaintiffs — which included Jayln Westernbroek, Hannah Holtmeier, Allison Coghan, Grace Choate, Madeline Ramar and Megan Kosar — declined to comment on the ruling or whether they would refile the lawsuit. 

Langford’s historic admission into the sorority and the subsequent lawsuit caught the attention of some of the biggest names in conservative media. Much of the media frenzy over the past year has scrutinized Langford’s physical appearance and depicted her as a sexual predator masquerading as a young woman in order to gain access to the sorority. Altogether, the heightened visibility has made the 21-year-old Langford’s everyday life as a small-town college student challenging, she said.  

“My only regret is how much pain the lawsuit has caused my sisters caught in between all this and also all the loved ones in my life,” she told WyoFile in an earlier interview. 

“I’m never gonna give up on organizations, issues and people that I love,” Langford added. “I’m proud to be a member of my chapter and I don’t think I’ll ever regret being a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma.” 

Maggie Mullen reports on state government and politics. Before joining WyoFile in 2022, she spent five years at Wyoming Public Radio.

Joshua Wolfson serves as managing editor for WyoFile. He lives in Casper. Contact him at josh@wyofile.com or (307) 797-2143. Follow him on Twitter at @joshwolfson.

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  1. I’m quite sure this discussion will go on in ad nauseam. Some believe individuals deserve the right to be themselves, while others believe the masses deserve the right to not be threatened with potential threats to their own modesty/identity in their own lives.
    One person’s right, vs. the right of the majority.
    Democratic state in society is in jeopardy.
    This is not a case of a Black lady not wishing to sit in the back of the bus. This IS a case of one’s own sense of maintaining modesty without dealing with “it’s their right to watch you take a shower, or live with you”.

    1. Of course it is a similar issue to those of racial civil rights. Segregation didn’t just extend to where a person sat on a bus. It involved whether a person could use the same bathroom, be allowed to swim in the same pool or sleep in the same hotel.

      The same concerns about safety and autonomy l in this case were also used in the Jim Crow South. Then and now, these arguments are based on sweeping prejudices and flawed assumptions of behavior and biology.

      Any private organization has the right to offer membership to whomever it sees fit. Individuals also have the right to accept, decline or renounce membership to a voluntary organization that they don’t agree with. No one is forcing the plaintiffs to stay.

      If Ms. Langford behaved inappropriately, that behavior should be resolved in whatever legal and/or disciplinary action decided by the state of Wyoming, the university and the sorority. However, one person’s bad behavior isn’t reason enough to vilify or reject a group.

      The plaintiffs also didn’t answer some basic questions: There are biological females who are attracted to others females. Should they also be banned? What is the threshold for member comfort? If some members feel uncomfortable living around individuals of different races, disabilities or religious backgrounds, should members of those groups also be banned? How much should we make individual prejudices public policy?

      1. Everything you state boils down to one question. What were these women led to expect when they signed the contract to belong to KKG. You can twist the “what ifs” all around the social arena of possibilities…but when the rubber hits the road with signatures, money and expectations is not met… who is liable? Who is guilty? Who has wronged the other party in the contract?

  2. If one is entitled to one’s own exclusivity, then it seems logical that an organization can be entitled to its own inclusivity. The ruling is an affirmation of the idea that we are equal citizens, and that ‘freedom of association’ means exactly that. The plaintiffs are entitled to associate outside of the sorority, and share whatever Neanderthal ideas or beliefs they subscribe to.

    1. It is a shame that you started you making some sense with your comment, then fell into the typical Progressive prejudice with the Neanderthal comment. Like association with others, others also have their right to their own opinion.

  3. The meanness behind this lawsuit, and dangerously personal signs posted in the student union, are not unrelated to UW’s struggles to increase student enrollment. The world, apparently, does not need more cowboys.

  4. I find it laughable that a story full of “misinformation” is posted yet you aren’t allowed to post ” misinformation” in a comment. The fact of reality is the person being sued is a biological male therefore to call them a she is misinformation

  5. After reading the article titled “Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Against UW Sorority, Transgender Sister,” I find it to be a positive outcome that reflects progress towards inclusivity and acceptance. The dismissal of the lawsuit highlights a step in the right direction for embracing diversity within sororities. It’s heartening to see that the legal system supports the rights of transgender individuals and their inclusion in various spaces. This article underscores the importance of recognizing and respecting the rights of all individuals, regardless of their gender identity. Overall, the dismissal of the lawsuit is a positive development that signals a more inclusive and tolerant society.

    1. You clearly have willingly misled yourself!
      Honorable Judge Alan Bond Johnson’s, age 84, decision has nothing to do with confirming any sort of relief whatsoever. It just simply states the fact, that from his perspective, the Plaintiff “failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted”. And he did so “without prejudice”.
      It is clear that the plaintiff, or plaintiffs, in this case did not have a legitimate cause of action backed back its required elements.
      Just being ‘pissed off’ is not a cause of action ~ unfortunately!
      The Rules of Federal Civil Procedure are “Crazy Animals” that somehow have been put in place to protect everyone’s time and resources.

      “FRCP (Federal Rules of Civil Procedure) Rule 12(b) pertains to pretrial motions, and 12(b)(6) specifically deals with motions to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.”

      From the American Bar Association
      Rule 3.1: Meritorious Claims & Contentions
      “A lawyer shall not bring or defend a proceeding, or assert or controvert an issue therein, unless there is a basis in law and fact for doing so that is not frivolous, which includes a good faith argument for an extension, modification or reversal of existing law.”

      Great work(s) here by WyoFile!

      1. Artemis Langford is a true Wyoming Gem. Her personal process in knowing and understanding herself is respectful, honest and brave. She is a gift to all of us.
        Thank you WyoFile, for keeping it real.