The following comes from a July 7 email from Life Legal Defense Foundation.
Katie Short, VP of Legal Affairs for the Life Legal Defense Foundation, appeared in federal court yesterday afternoon on behalf of David Daleiden and his Center for Medical Progress in the case of Planned Parenthood v. CMP. Yesterday’s hearing addressed Life Legal’s motion to dismiss Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit against Daleiden as well as our Anti-SLAPP motion.
A SLAPP, or Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation, is an
impermissible lawsuit filed solely for the purpose of harassing, intimidating, and silencing a defendant. California provides special procedures to protect defendants in SLAPP suits. In this case, Planned Parenthood, a 100-year-old corporation with annual revenue exceeding $1.3 billion, filed suit against 27-year-old David Daleiden and his small non-profit organization the Center for Medical Progress in order to punish him for releasing documentation exposing the abortion cartel’s role in trafficking the bodies of aborted children, as well as to chill him and others from conducting further investigations. Planned Parenthood is seeking tens of millions of dollars in damages and attorney fees from Daleiden and his fellow investigators.
In a separate lawsuit filed by the National Abortion Federation, David was enjoined from releasing videos of abortion providers talking at a NAF meeting about fetal tissue procurement, partial birth abortion, and similar topics. In constitutional terms, the court’s order is a “prior restraint” on speech. The Supreme Court has held prior restraints on speech to be unconstitutional, as they are “the essence of censorship.” That order is on appeal to the Ninth Circuit.
Judge William Orrick opened the hearing with questions regarding the motions and causes of action, particularly Planned Parenthood’s allegations that Daleiden violated the federal RICO or racketeering statute. Specifically, Judge Orrick questioned whether Daleiden’s activities proximately caused the injuries alleged by Planned Parenthood and requested additional information from both parties for clarification.
With regard to Planned Parenthood’s claim that David’s activities constituted an “intrusion upon seclusion,” Life Legal’s Katie Short argued that these were business conversations that took place in the presence of hundreds of conference attendees and hotel staff. Furthermore, corporations as such cannot raise privacy claims.
Although Judge Orrick stated that he was “inclined to deny” our anti-SLAPP motion, he decided to reconsider after hearing from Ms. Short regarding Planned Parenthood’s failure to provide the requisite evidence to support their claims against Daleiden.
Watch Katie discuss the hearing here.