Verdict Announced in Planned Parenthood Civil Suit

Nov 15, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – The jury announced a complete verdict in favor of Planned Parenthood today in its multimillion-dollar civil lawsuit against Sandra Merritt for her undercover investigation with colleague David Daleiden, the founder of Center for Medical Progress (CMP), for revealing and exposing the largest abortion mill’s unethical and potentially illegal profiting from human baby body parts. Liberty Counsel represents Merritt and will appeal the verdict. 

The jury decided in favor of the abortion giant on each count, including RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) and awarded punitive damages of $870,000. 

Planned Parenthood originally sought $20 million in damages for trespassing, fraud, and RICO conspiracy against Merritt and Daleiden. Yet the U.S. Supreme Court ruled several years ago that RICO cannot be used against pro-life picketers to silence free speech. 

Judge Orrick had ordered the jury to find Merritt and Daleiden guilty of trespassing for their undercover journalism at Planned Parenthood conferences and clinics before the jury retired to consider a verdict. The judge said the jury must accept his rulings and only decide if Planned Parenthood suffered damage from the trespass and what damages they should be awarded. Orrick also told the jury it couldn't look at this as a First Amendment case, where freedom of speech and the press could be considered as a defense.

In 2017, Orrick was asked to recuse himself from the case as he has had “an ongoing and longstanding professional relationship with Planned Parenthood.” Judge Orrick is a founder of the Good Samaritan Family Resource Center, a San Francisco-based organization that houses a Planned Parenthood facility within its complex.

Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “From the beginning, this trial has been straight-jacketed to tie the hands of the jury and force them to give a verdict to Planned Parenthood. There was critical evidence to our defense that was prohibited from being shown to the jury. There are so many reversible errors that we will address on appeal. This is not the last word,” said Staver.

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