Pro-Life Attorneys Fined for "Frivolous Lawsuit" Against Planned Parenthood
by Paul Nowak
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
December 18, 2003
San Diego, CA (LifeNews.com) — Two pro-life attorneys and their organization are in peril, following a judge’s ruling that their lawsuits against Planned Parenthood and two of its affiliates were "frivolous." The decision may not only ruin the attorneys, it may very well result in the dissolution of a law firm that has been instrumental in defending pro-life protesters for 20 years.
Public-interest attorneys Richard Ackerman and Gary Kreep, as well as the United States Justice Foundation (USJF), had brought a 15-count lawsuit against Planned Parenthood of America and its affiliates in Los Angeles and in San Diego and Riverside County, charging that the organizations knew about, and failed to report, hundreds of cases of physical and sexual abuse of minors.
Despite the presentation of evidence from an in-depth study, public records and Planned Parenthood’s own files, a Superior Court Judge agreed with Planned Parenthood attorneys who were seeking sanctions against Ackerman and Kreep for their so-called "frivolous" allegations and suit.
The Planned Parenthood Attorneys were awarded $15,000, and can collect the money from Ackerman, Kreep, the USJF, or all three parties.
Prior to the judge’s ruling, Ackerman had told the WorldNetDaily that if sanctioned, he and his wife would have to consider bankruptcy.
"If a judge is going to sanction me for doing the right thing, I would rather pay the [money] than to have not done the right thing," Ackerman said.
Although an appeal has been filed, USJF may soon cease to exist. According to Kreep, one of the Planned Parenthood attorneys said he might show up at the office and start hauling away furniture and computers, and shut down the operation.
"Planned Parenthood and their attorney have been talking for years about trying to put us out of business, and with this decision, which is a wrong decision, they could be successful," said Kreep.
A hearing for the appeal is scheduled for December 19th.
"Mr. Ackerman has not one shred of evidence, not one infinitesimal piece of evidence to support his outrageous claims," James McElroy, the attorney who filed the sanction for the San Diego-Riverside affiliate of Planned Parenthood, had said in an interview with WorldNetDaily prior to the judge’s ruling.
Ackerman has stated that he has six boxes of evidence, including Planned Parenthood documents stating they have treated girls as young as 5 years old.
"If a 12-year-old shows up pregnant at a Planned Parenthood facility … there is good reason to believe a crime has been committed," Ackerman was quoted as saying in an article by Focus on the Family. "Once you suspect that illegal sexual activity has taken place with that minor, there is a duty to report it to child protective services, and if you don’t it’s a crime."
Two counts of the suit were thrown out by San Diego Superior Court Judge Kevin A. Enright on August 29, on the basis that the complaints did not, as a matter of law, state a cause of action. Because the ruling was based on the nature of the complaints, Ackerman was not permitted to present his evidence.
In the earlier dismissal, Enright ruled Planned Parenthood is not subject to relevant parts of the reporting act, because it is a "corporate entity not licensed to practice medicine."
Ackerman argues that Planned Parenthood provides abortions and dispenses drugs, such as RU-486, which killed a California teenager who received the pills at a California Planned Parenthood facility. Additionally, he has testimony from former Planned Parenthood employee Megan Allen, who has alleged her employer allowed unlicensed individuals to participate in abortions and did not follow safety procedures.
In addition, Ackerman believes that if the ruling stands, youth sports leagues, churches, schools, and other similar organizations will no longer be required to report sexual abuse cases for the reason that they are "not licensed to practice medicine."
Despite the fact that all 50 states have laws requiring reporting of sexual abuse of minors, a national report by Life Dynamics, a Texas-based organization, showed that, in 91% of the 813 calls they made to Planned Parenthood affiliates nationwide, the organization’s representatives said they would help the caller (who posed as a 13-year-old impregnated by her 22-yr-old boyfriend) conceal the information from parents and authorities.
The United States Justice Foundation is a public-interest law firm that has been defending pro-life picketers in criminal and civil court for the past 20 years. It does not charge its clients, but relies on donations to support its efforts.
United State Justice Foundation – https://www.usjf.net