A settlement was reached in a lawsuit filed in which members of a medical research company alleged they were illegally videotaped by an anti-abortion group.
Lawyers for the Center for Medical Progress filed court papers on Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court, stating that the lawsuit brought by plaintiff StemExpress was resolved.
According to a statement released Wednesday by the CMP, StemExpress is “walking away with nothing.”
The suit alleged the plaintiffs’ privacy was invaded when the defendants secretly recording a meeting at a Northern California restaurant in May 2015 with StemExpress founder Catherine Dyer and others.
According to the CMP statement, Dyer made several “shocking” admissions about StemExpress obtaining fully intact fetuses from abortion cases, seeking “another 50 livers a week” from a “volume institution” like Planned Parenthood, and asserting that supplying fetal tissue should be”profitable” for abortion clinics.
StemExpress bills itself as a “small life sciences company committed to accelerating research, advancing medicine and saving lives.” The firm’s suit was filed in July 2015, two weeks after the Center for Medical Progress released undercover footage of its founder, David Daleiden, posing as a representative for a fake biomedical company and questioning a Planned Parenthood doctor about the sale of fetal tissue. Investigative reporter Sandra Merritt accompanied Daleiden to the dinner, the suit stated.
Defense attorney Charles LiMandri maintained that the dinner conversation was not confidential because it took place in an environment where those present knew their conversation could be overheard.
“By filing this action, plaintiffs … seek to punish defendant Merritt for her participation as a journalist in an investigative project, and to chill her from exercising her First Amendment rights to engage in effective investigative journalism,” LiMandri wrote in his court papers.
LiMandri said that since 2013, Merritt has assisted CMP in an investigative journalism project called “Human Capital.” As a result of the project, congressional committees and more than a dozen states have begun investigations into the illegal harvesting of fetal tissue, fetal body parts and whole fetal body parts, all for profit, according to LiMandri.
His court papers also stated that CMP at times has asked Merritt to pose as “Susan Tannenbaum” in interactions with people in the fetal tissue procurement industry.
StemExpress announced in August 2015 that it would no longer receive fetal tissue from Planned Parenthood.
—City News Service