Planned Parenthood of Columbia/Willamette, Inc. v. American Coalition of Life Activists

NOTE: The information and commentary contained in this database entry are based on court filings and other informational sources that may contain unproven allegations made by the parties. The truthfulness and accuracy of such information is likely to be in dispute. Information contained in this entry is current as of the last event mentioned in the "Description" section below; additional proceedings might have taken place in this matter since this event.

Summary

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Date: 

10/26/1995

Status: 

Concluded

Location: 

Oregon

Disposition: 

Verdict (plaintiff)

Verdict or Settlement Amount: 

$4,730,000.00
Planned Parenthood and the other plaintiffs sued the American Coalition of Life Activists (ACLA) and others for alleged violations of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE) and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). Specifically, the plaintiffs objected... read full description
Parties

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

American Coalition of Life Activists, Advocates for Life Ministries, Michael Bray, Andrew Burnett, et al.

Type of Party: 

Individual
Large Organization

Type of Party: 

Individual
Organization

Location of Party: 

  • Oregon

Location of Party: 

  • Oregon

Legal Counsel: 

Christopher D. Ferrara (from American Catholic Lawyers Association), David T. Daulton, Norman L. Lindstedt, William D. Bailey
Description

Planned Parenthood and the other plaintiffs sued the American Coalition of Life Activists (ACLA) and others for alleged violations of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE) and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).

Specifically, the plaintiffs objected to the creation of "wanted" posters that listed the names and contact information of various abortion providers and the Nuremberg Files website, which contained anti-abortion advocacy and the names and addresses of over 200 abortion providers, who the site characterized as "war criminals."  The website said that this information would be used in future war crimes trials in "perfectly legal courts once the tide of this nation’s opinion turns against the wanton slaughter of God’s children." Those who brought the lawsuit argued that these materials constituted threats of bodily harm or intimidation prohibited by FACE and RICO.

Originally, a jury in federal court in Oregon awarded the plaintiffs approximately $108 million in punitive damages after finding the website and posters to be "true threats." The federal district judge also prohibited further display of the "wanted" posters.  ACLA brought many appeals, and the case stayed in the court system for years. Ultimately, the the district court ultimately upheld liability and awarded approximately $4.73 million in damages.

The Nuremberg Files no longer attributes its information to ACLA because ACLA members objected to some of the materials on the website.

Details

Content Type: 

  • Text

Publication Medium: 

Print
Website

Subject Area: 

  • Free Speech
Court Information & Documents

Jurisdiction: 

  • Oregon

Source of Law: 

  • United States

Court Name: 

US District Court for the District of Oregon; US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

Court Type: 

Federal

Case Number: 

3:95-cv-1671 (trial level); 99-35320 (appeal, also associated with 99-35325, 99-35327, 99-35331, 99-35333, 99-35405)

Relevant Documents: 

CMLP Information (Private)

Priority: 

1-High

CMLP Notes: 

EK editing (10/08/2009)