Nov 17, 2017
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Today, Sandra “Susan” Merritt is asking the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold California law, protect her First Amendment rights, and order the trial court to dismiss Planned Parenthood’s 15-count civil suit against her.
Planned Parenthood filed a retaliatory, 15-count civil suit against Merritt, seeking $16 million as punishment for her undercover investigation, which revealed and exposed the largest abortion mill’s unethical and potentially illegal profiting from human baby body parts.
Like several other states, California law protects its citizens from “Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation” (SLAPP), by requiring plaintiffs to prove their claims with admissible evidence upfront, before subjecting defendants to expensive and protracted litigation for exercising their First Amendment rights.
Because Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit is a classic SLAPP, Merritt invoked the protection of the anti-SLAPP statute, pointing out that Planned Parenthood had no evidence to prove any of its manufactured claims.
When responding to Merritt‘s motion, Planned Parenthood offered virtually no evidence to substantiate any of its claims, and simply repeated the unproven, unsworn allegations in its Complaint. Even though California law clearly requires more, the trial court refused to dismiss Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit and allowed it to proceed on the basis of mere allegations. This deprived Merritt of the essential protections of California law.
Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel said, “Planned Parenthood filed this suit to silence Sandra Merritt and punish her for exposing Planned Parenthood’s horrendous and illegal practice of selling aborted baby parts. Unsurprisingly, Planned Parenthood’s baseless and vindictive lawsuit ignores the law so today we ask the Ninth Circuit to throw it out and uphold Sandra’s right to tell the truth,” said Staver.
Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bonoassistance and representation on these and related topics.