Attorneys with the ACLJ filed an appeal on Monday, July 23, in the Planned Parenthood fraud case in California. In the case, ACLJ attorneys represent a whistleblower, the former Chief Financial Officer of Planned Parenthood’s affiliate in Los Angeles. The whistleblower alleges that Planned Parenthood affiliates in California cheated the state and federal government out of hundreds of millions of dollars by illegally overcharging for birth control drugs and devices.
Federal District Court Judge A. Howard Matz rejected the lawsuit, ruling that Planned Parenthood’s alleged illegal overbilling was not a “false” claim. Judge Matz dismissed the case in late June and entered a final judgment for Planned Parenthood on July 18.
The case now goes to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, where ACLJ attorneys will ask the appeals court to reverse Judge Matz’s ruling and reinstate the lawsuit.
Our position is clear: the False Claims Act was adopted precisely because private entities were cheating the federal government by submitting inflated invoices. That’s exactly what this lawsuit is about. The notion that submitting false dollar amounts for government reimbursement is not a "false” claim is absurd. We’re confident the Ninth Circuit will overturn Judge Matz’s dismissal of this case.
Judge Matz had dismissed the case previously, in 2008, on the grounds that the suit was not brought by a proper party, but after an ACLJ appeal, a Ninth Circuit panel unanimously reversed that ruling and sent the case back to the district court. This time the district court dismissed the case on different grounds. The ACLJ hopes again to have the case reinstated.
The Planned Parenthood affiliates are being represented for free by a large Los Angeles law firm, Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, LLP. Adding insult to injury, after the case was dismissed last month, PP’s attorneys asked the judge to order the whistleblower to pay more than $100,000 to Planned Parenthood’s attorneys. The ACLJ has opposed that request, and the matter is set for a hearing in district court on August 6.