Case Update

Winter 2016

NAF v. David Daleiden and CMP (Calif.)—NAF sued David Daleiden to prevent release of the recordings and information he obtained at NAF meetings on the grounds that he is a “racketeer” who “committed fraud,” “snuck into” their completely secure, private meetings, “stole” NAF information, and repelled them with his constant questions about buying fetal tissue. Life Legal leads the defense of David and CMP. (See p. 1).

Stem Express v. CMP and David Daleiden (Calif.)—StemExpress, the biotech firm buying baby body parts from Planned Parenthood in earlier undercover videos, filed a lawsuit against the Center for Medical Progress to prevent the release of video material obtained by CMP. Life Legal continues to successfully defend David Daleiden and CMP.

Respect Life South San Francisco v. City of South San Francisco and Planned Parenthood (Calif.)—Petition for writ of mandate to overturn grant of use permit for Planned Parenthood clinic. Petitioners assert that the city wrongfully exempted the permit from compliance with applicable state environmental impact law and regulations. While Planned Parenthood has been prevented from opening for two years, an adverse decision was handed down Summer 2015. An appeal is pending.

Diss v. Portland Public Schools (Ore.)—Civil complaint for unlawful termination and religious discrimination. Bill Diss, a teacher at a Portland, Oregon high school, had his teaching contract terminated following his request for a religious exemption to excuse his participation in a school program administered by Planned Parenthood. Following his request for accommodation, Diss was subjected to harassment and retaliation by school administrators throughout the school year, which culminated in the termination of his employment. Life Legal filed employment discrimination complaints with the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In September 2014, Life Legal also filed a civil action on Diss’ behalf, seeking monetary damages as well as reinstatement in his teaching position. The civil case is in discovery.

Pro-Life Mississippi et al., v. Vance, et al., No. 3:14cv568. (Miss.)—Life Legal Defense Foundation, in conjunction with local attorney Steve Thornton, filed suit on behalf of pro-life sidewalk counselors in Jackson, Mississippi. Life Legal has appealed the denial of the preliminary injunction to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. After oral argument in January, the Fifth Circuit issued a one-paragraph order affirming the trial court’s denial of the preliminary injunction. The case now returns to the lower court.

People v. Garza/Garza v. Jackson Public School District (Jackson, Miss.)—Two young pro-life activists were arrested for distributing leaflets on a sidewalk in front of a high school and were charged with trespass, disturbing the peace, and interference with school buses. After criminal trial in which the court excluded video evidence exonerating them, they were found guilty on two of the three charges. Their request for a new trial has been pending for almost two years. Federal civil rights suit filed seeking damages and injunctive relief. The case is in discovery.

Planned Parenthood v. MMB Properties (Kissimmee, Fla.)—Planned Parenthood purchased and occupied the property in Kissimmee in April of 2014. When it became clear that the office was going to become an abortion mill, a cardiologist who also had an office at Oak Commons sued to enforce the restrictive covenant that forbade “outpatient surgical centers” at the site. Victory! The Fifth District Court of Appeals for the State of Florida upheld a trial court preliminary ruling that prohibited Planned Parenthood from performing abortions at its office in Kissimmee. The case now goes to trial.

Jackson State University v. White (Miss.)—Pro-life activist arrested for protesting on public sidewalk adjacent to public university. Others in the group left the sidewalk under threat of arrest. Criminal case pending.

Huntsville Zoning Battle (Ala.)—Variance only permits medical clinic to operate 8-5. Sidewalk counselors routinely observe more than 15-20 cars in the parking lot past 7:30 at night and see patients leaving the clinic well past 5:00 P.M. Life Legal is working with local pro-lifers to collect further evidence of zoning violations to be reported to city zoning enforcement officials.

Whole Women’s Health v. Lakey (Tex.)—Abortion providers challenged Texas statutes requiring that abortion providers have admitting privileges at local hospitals and imposing building and safety requirements on abortion facilities. Life Legal joined Alliance Defending Freedom in filing an amicus brief in the Fifth Circuit, arguing that the law’s requirements are reasonable and constitutional. The brief points out that the alleged shortage of eligible abortion providers under the law is caused not by the strictures of the law but by the unwillingness of most doctors to provide abortions. The Fifth Circuit Court upheld the ambulatory surgical center standards and the admitting privileges requirement as to all but one clinic in Texas. The court found that the requirements advance Texas’ interests in safeguarding maternal health and protecting women from substandard abortion facilities and practices. The case was appealed to the Supreme Court, which will hear argument on March 2, 2016.

Little Sisters of the Poor v. Burwell (Wash., D.C.)—Life Legal filed U.S. Supreme Court amicus brief on behalf of the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute opposing the government’s mandate that requires employers to offer health insurance policies that include contraceptive drug coverage. The mandate applies even to organizations that have a religious objection to artificial contraception. Employers who fail to offer approved coverage are subject to huge penalties. The Little Sisters of the Poor have been threatened with millions of dollars in fines for refusing to purchase contraceptive coverage—yet they have stood firm and will not violate their religious beliefs by making available drugs and devices that cause early abortion and compromise women’s health.

In re Kline (Kan.)—Former Kansas Attorney General was accused by Planned Parenthood and pro-abortion public officials of violating state ethics rules while investigating Kansas abortion providers, resulting in the suspension of his license to practice law. On February 25, 2014, Kline’s attorneys filed a motion to dismiss what they are calling a “void” judgment on the basis that the Kansas Constitution explicitly requires at least four justices to concur for every decision. With only two justices left on the Court for Kline’s case after several justices recused themselves because of conflicts, Kline asserts that the composition of the post-recusal Court was unlawful and in explicit violation of the Kansas Constitution. It is unclear when the Court will decide that motion. Kline’s license is currently indefinitely suspended and will be reviewed by the Kansas Supreme Court in three years. October 2015 Kline filed “Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief” in the matter of Kline v. Biles seeks principally a ruling that the “discipline” meted out to Kline is void because of the unlawful composition of the court that ruled against him.

CASES RESOLVED:

People v. Miller, et al. (Nashville, Tenn.)—Three members of a pro-life youth ministry group were arrested for trespass while handing out leaflets and holding signs on a public sidewalk outside a public high school. Victory! Charges dismissed. Civil action pending.

Last Abortion Clinic in Selma Alabama CLOSED. Life Legal has been working with local pro-lifers to close Selma’s last abortion clinic since 2014—and we have a victory! The Central Alabama Women’s Clinic, an unlicensed abortion clinic in Selma, Alabama, has finally stopped performing illegal abortions as of December 30, 2015! The facility is now a weight loss clinic. Life Legal provided overwhelming evidence of the clinic’s illegal practices to the Alabama Department of Public Health and the Alabama Board of Medical Examiners.

England v. County of Sacramento (Calif.)—Employer refused to accommodate County employee who voiced a sincere religious objection to referring clients for family planning and other abortion-related services. Victory! Case settled to the satisfaction of England. In addition to monetary settlement, County of Sacramento will implement a new policy on religious accommodation.

Rivera v. UCSB et al. (Calif.)—Civil suit filed against U.C. Santa Barbara and professor of feminist studies Mireille Miller-Young for battery and civil rights violations. Professor Miller-Young started an altercation with pro-life activists engaging in free speech activity on the UCSB campus, which culminated in her stealing and destroying a sign and assaulting one of the pro-lifers, a sixteen-year-old girl. Victory! Case settled to the satisfaction of the pro-life students.

Gebreyes vs. Prime Health Care Services DBA Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center (Reno, Nev.)—Twenty-year-old college student Aden Hailu went to the emergency room at St. Mary’s Regional Hospital in Reno, Nevada complaining of stomach pain. Doctors insisted on performing exploratory surgery and Aden went into cardiac arrest during the operation. She never fully regained consciousness and was declared brain dead by the hospital. Life Legal assisted Aden’s family’s eight-month fight to prevent the hospital from discontinuing life-sustaining care. Aden died on January 4, 2016, while the case was pending.

Planned Parenthood vs. Daleiden et al. (Calif.)—January 2016 PP filed a lawsuit that seeks to prevent Daleiden from ever launching another undercover investigation into PP’s activities. Planned Parenthood is also seeking treble damages for alleged “racketeering” as well as punitive damages and attorney fees, all of which could add up to millions of dollars. The abortion giant is represented by one of the largest law firms in the United States.


Originally published in Lifeline Vol. XXV, No. 1 (Winter 2016)

Author: Life Legal

The Life Legal Defense Foundation is a non-profit law firm that specializes in the defense of vulnerable human life, especially life in the womb.

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