Oral Argument Set in Appeal of Unjust Planned Parenthood Verdict
Litigation sometimes takes many years before completion. That is especially true in highly contested cases involving abortion when incorrect lower court decisions that favor the abortion industry are eventually overturned by the Supreme Court, sometimes multiple times in one case. For instance, the NOW v. Scheidler litigation began in the 1980s, lasted over two decades and reached the Supreme Court three different times.
For the past six years, the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) has been representing a former board member of the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) in a federal lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood. The abortion giant sued after CMP had released videos from its undercover investigation that exposed some of Planned Parenthood’s horrendous abortion practices. The videos led to congressional investigations and congressional referrals for criminal prosecutions over the sale of aborted babies’ body parts.
Over the next three years, the case worked its way through the trial court and included a nearly two-month trial in San Francisco in late 2019. Evidence at trial included an abortion doctor admitting the use of specific techniques during abortion procedures to keep certain baby organs intact, and another stating that she “wanted a Lamborghini” during discussion of prices for the sale of those organs.
Despite this testimony, the trial court repeatedly instructed the jury to ignore any evidence of Planned Parenthood’s illegal and unethical acts. The court instead instructed the jury to focus only on Defendants’ investigative techniques and methods. The jury ultimately found the Defendants liable to Planned Parenthood and returned a verdict of more than $2 million in damages, even though the truth of the videos was not challenged and Planned Parenthood did not assert a defamation claim.
The jury’s verdict and various rulings issued by the trial court are contrary to the law and the evidence. The ACLJ appealed the unjust verdict to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on behalf of our client. Over the last couple of years, we have filed appellate briefs advancing our client’s claims and responding to Planned Parenthood’s arguments. Multiple friend-of-the-court briefs (amicus briefs) have been filed in support of the arguments that we and the other Defendants have made.
This week, the Ninth Circuit issued an order scheduling oral argument for April 21, 2022. Oral argument will give us another opportunity to advance our arguments and answer any questions from the three-judge panel.
Although this case has been pending for six years, it is far from over. We will continue to pursue justice on behalf of our client, including eventually filing with the full Ninth Circuit en banc and the United States Supreme Court if necessary. We ask for your continued support as we move forward in this important case.