Life Legal continues to fight for pro-life speech in Planned Parenthood v. The Center for Medical Progress (CMP). CMP was sued in 2015 after it published a series of videos that showed Planned Parenthood officials negotiating the sale of baby parts. The videos were recorded using hidden cameras in public venues such as restaurants to expose the abortion industry’s unethical and criminal activities. In 2019, a San Francisco jury found in favor of Planned Parenthood, awarding the abortion giant $2 million in damages stemming from CMP’s violation of California’s recording law. In addition, the judge awarded PP over $11 million in attorney fees.
In a recent Oregon case, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that Oregon’s recording law, which is similar to the California law at issue in the CMP case, violates the First Amendment and is therefore invalid. See Project Veritas v. Schmidt.
Project Veritas, which often exposes corruption using hidden cameras and undercover interviews, sought to conduct investigations in Oregon, but was not able to do so because of Oregon’s recording law, which requires notification of all participants to a recorded conversation – even in public spaces. Project Veritas then filed a lawsuit against the state, successfully challenging the constitutionality of the recording statute.
By striking down Oregon’s recording law, the Ninth Circuit Court undermined the foundation of the jury’s verdict in the CMP case. Because Project Veritas has changed the law upon which the unjust ruling rests, Planned Parenthood’s damage awards are not supported.
This week, Life Legal and the other defense teams filed a motion with the court in the CMP case seeking to vacate or modify the judgment to conform to the recent ruling in Project Veritas. Because of this significant change in the law, the court must disallow all damage claims related to the now unconstitutional recording law.