Center for Medical Progress Violated Multiple State and Federal Laws
New York, NY — Today, a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in two separate opinions, affirmed almost the entirety of a 2019 judgment issued by a California federal district court. A San Francisco jury found that the Center for Medical Progress, David Daleiden, and others who manufactured a fraudulent campaign against Planned Parenthood broke multiple state and federal laws in their efforts to bar access to reproductive health care. The jury ruled in Planned Parenthood’s favor on each of its claims, including finding that the defendants violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) and engaged in fraud, trespass, breach of contract, and illegal secret recording. The jury awarded Planned Parenthood both compensatory and punitive damages, totaling more than $2 million, for the injuries that Daleiden and his co-conspirators caused.
In today’s unanimous opinions, the 9th Circuit affirmed the jury’s findings, reversing only one finding that Daleiden and others violated the Federal Wiretap Act. As a result, the original damages award will be reduced by just $90,000, and still total more than $2 million. As the Ninth Circuit explained, not only did the videos “not contain evidence of wrongdoing” by Planned Parenthood, but “[f]rom the beginning of their scheme, Appellants engaged in illegal conduct—including forging signatures, creating and procuring fake driver’s licenses, and breaching contracts.”
Statement from Helene Krasnoff, vice president, Public Policy Litigation & Law, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:
“We are thrilled with today’s ruling. In 2019, a jury — with all of the facts fully presented to it — determined that David Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress intentionally broke the law in a multi-year campaign to advance their anti-abortion agenda and prevent Planned Parenthood from serving the patients who depend on us. Daleiden was ordered to pay millions of dollars in damages as a result. Today, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed those holdings, once again making clear that the only people who engaged in wrongdoing were those behind this malicious fraud. This was never about monetary gain; this was about exposing the fraudulent and illegal actions of Daleiden and those who conspired with him, and ensuring that Planned Parenthood providers are able to continue serving the 2.1 million patients who rely on them for high-quality health care every year.”
Starting in July 2015, the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) leveled a series of elaborate and false claims against Planned Parenthood. Using multiple manipulated videos, the anti-abortion group made what are now widely-viewed as discredited and debunked accusations about practices to facilitate the donation of fetal tissue for use in medical research at a small number of Planned Parenthood health centers.
In January 2016, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, along with Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, and all seven California Planned Parenthood affiliates, filed this civil lawsuit in San Francisco against CMP, Daleiden, and others, alleging that they engaged in illegal conduct that included violating RICO and engaging in trespass, breach of contract, and illegal secret recording.
As today’s ruling makes clear — and as has been shown over and over again — these anti-abortion operatives engaged in a deliberate fraud to deceive the public.
The plaintiffs in the civil action are represented by a team of attorneys at Arnold & Porter, as well as by Amy Bomse of Rogers Joseph O’Donnell, in partnership with PPFA Public Policy Litigation & Law and Beth Parker, General Counsel, Planned Parenthood California Central Coast.
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.