Second Planned Parenthood Lawsuit Threatens Pro-Life Law Firm
by Paul Nowak
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
March 9, 2004
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — A pro-life law firm in California is in serious jeopardy, following the decision of an appeals court that brought the total sanctions levied against them to almost $100,000.
The United States Justice Foundation (USJF), a non-profit law firm, had filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit Planned Parenthood of Sand Diego and Riverside Counties filed against a pro-life protester, accusing her of trespassing and harassing employees and patients at a San Diego abortion facility.
On Thursday, the California Court of Appeals upheld an October 2002 ruling by San Diego Superior Court Judge Kevin Enright, who ruled the motion frivolous and sanctioned the pro-life attorneys by awarding $60,000 to Planned Parenthood. USJF is now expected to pay that award, plus approximately $40,000 in appeals court costs for Planned Parenthood.
"We don’t have the money," USJF President Gary Kreep told WorldNetDaily. "Unless God intervenes and people come forward with money, we will be shut down."
Justices ruled that photographic evidence and testimony from a security guard presented a clear case against the protester, and that "no reasonable attorney" would have filed such a motion to dismiss.
USJF claims the photographic evidence is open to interpretation.
Previously, USJF brought a 15-count lawsuit against Planned Parenthood of America and its affiliates in Los Angeles and in San Diego and Riverside County last year, charging that the organizations knew about, and failed to report, hundreds of cases of physical and sexual abuse of minors.
In August, Judge Enright threw out two of those counts and awarded $15,000 to Planned Parenthood for what he ruled was a frivolous lawsuit.
Richard Ackerman, an attorney with USJF, 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."
Prior to the August ruling, Ackerman had said 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.
Kreep said that he believed Planned Parenthood has been trying to shut USJF down. In light of the recent rulings, they may have succeeded.
"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 in December, referring to the August decision.
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.
Related web sites:
United States Justice Foundation – https://www.usjf.net