Everyone knows about the scandal Planned Parenthood is facing over its sale of unborn baby body parts. And the fight it is waging in Congress to try to keep that half a billion dollars in your tax money each year.
And there are the ordinary fights over dismemberment abortions, restrictions on those and more.
Now, however, Planned Parenthood in Vacaville, California, has found itself at the defendants’ table for another reason: Interfering in the contract of the Solano Alpha Crisis Pregnancy Center.
It seems the pregnancy center was looking for a new location, a realtor showed officials an office suite that was across the hall from Planned Parenthood’s operations in the same building, they signed the lease and sent a check.
That’s when, according to the Pacific Justice Institute, which is working no behalf of the center and filed a “Complaint for interference with prospective economic relations, interference with contractual relations and violation of Unruh Civil Rights Act,” the emails erupted.
Colleen Ciucci, a facilities coordinator for Planned Parenthood’s business operations, emailed the building owner and said, “Warren, I’ve been alerted by some of my staff about a suite near ours that may have been rented by a direct protestor of our services. Can you confirm this rumor? Clearly that will be a significant problem if they are allowed to disrupt our services in any way.”
When Planned Parenthood exchanged emails about the issue, Ciucci soon followed up with another missive to the owner, stating, “The Anti-Choice group who is boasting about possibly moving in next to us is 40 Days For Life. … We feel very strongly that this would significantly impact our business and possibly cause unavoidable impacts and disturbances with your other tenants on any level they were to have access to the building.”
The next morning the owner, Warren Owens, emailed his manager with the message, “We have a problem.”
During a telephone conversation, the complaint notes, the manager asked the owner, “Are you sure you want to cancel this deal?” and he confirmed that was his goal.
He followed up in writing, “I would like to remove the offer to lease.”
Pacific Justice officials said the interference was inappropriate.
The organization already had filed a suit against the building owner over the issue, which developed in 2014, but it followed now with the claim of interference because details about the emails came to light during discovery for the original dispute.
About the new case in Superior Court of Solano County, Brad Dacus, PJI chief, said, “No ministry should be denied the ability to rent space based on their deeply held beliefs. The evidence we have uncovered shows that Planned Parenthood will stop at nothing to protect its abortuaries and suppress the voices of the pro-life community. In this case, they broke the law and must be held accountable.”
The first lawsuit, against the property owner, who earlier expressed pleasure that he had caught the dispute or it would have “turned into a lawsuit,” now is scheduled to go to trial this summer.
See a video report:
Pregnancy center officials, who are, in fact, not the 40 Days for Life prolife campaign, said the idea of having options available to women was appropriate.
“That’s what choice is all about,” they said in the video report.
The Alpha center had followed with a request of the management agency.
“Please confirm where we are on the lease. Obviously Alpha desires to honor the agreement and move in as planned. If the landlord is refusing to honor the lease, please let us know in writing of his refusal and the reason for this.”
The calamity quickly escalated, with Coliucci’s manager emailing: “[The landlord] has now told them he will not rent and they have indicated they will sue him for … I am not sure what … rental discrimination?”
“He is nervous, has a lawyer and his lawyer would love to talk to one of ours,” the memo continued.
The email included “Happy Thanksgiving,” and the recommendation from Nat Okey, another abortion industry employee, “I’d like to suggest we do something nice for the landlord like a holiday basket and signed card from all the health center staff in Vacaville thanking him for supporting us.”
The lawsuit explains, “As a result of Nor. Cal. Planned Parenthood’s false, misleading and vindictive communications to the owner, the owner will not perform on the lease. The inducement not to perform the lease was based on Alpha’s actual or perceived membership in a protected religious class, Alpha’s actual or perceived religiously based practices, and Alpha’s actual or perceived religiously based views on the sanctity of human life.”
“Refusing to engage in commerce because of actual or perceived membership in a protected class is against public policy as codified in the Unruh Act,” the lawsuit said.
“As a result of the loss of the opportunity to take possession of Suite 230, Alpha has suffered, and continues to suffer, economic loss.”
The action seeks statutory damages, punitive damages, costs, and attorneys’ fees.
The case against the property owner also seeks to have the injuries and damages corrected.