Attorney unable to find co-counsel willing to go up against "Mob-like" giantThe two things you expect Planned Parenthood to be good at, diagnosing unplanned pregnancies so they can be targeted for abortion, and administering birth control, are the subject of a medical malpractice lawsuit filed by a Tacoma woman in December of 2012.
The woman, whom we will call SJ in this report -- but who is identified in the lawsuit of course -- was given Depo Provera birth control injections during the course of a pregnancy, a pregnancy that PP failed to identify despite claiming to have administered two high-sensitivity pregnancy tests. She only found out she was pregnant at 6.5 months, and claims a series of emotional and physical health problems not only to herself, but also to her baby. The lawsuit also points out that PP has had her on Depo for 10 years, even though the manufacturer recommends 2 years maximum.
In the complaint, SJ states:
"My child's delivery was a terrifying experience. After my daughter was delivered, I began to pass blood clots. The doctors could not stop the passing and could not determine its source. I had to be transported to the operating room and the doctors had to operate on me to stop the bleeding. I lost large amounts of blood and had to have a blood transfusion.
My life is forever altered as a direct result of [Planned Parenthood Tacoma]'s actions. I have been affected financially, emotionally, and physically. Many things in life are painful that were never painful before as a result of being on Depo-Provera for ten years. I have joint pain, muscle pain, and experience symptoms associated with bone weakness. If I ever want to be intimate with someone again without experiencing extreme pain, I will have to seek therapy to relax my permanently-contracted pelvic floor muscles. My relationships with family and friends were forever altered by [Planned Parenthood]'s failure to diagnose my pregnancy. I trusted [Planned Parenthood] to assist me in my family planning goals and I was sorely mislead and disappointed."
She went to Planned Parenthood Tacoma's clinic in June, 2011, in order to get put (back) on Depo Provera birth control, which is administered as an injection every three months. She was reportedly given a "high-sensitivity" pregnancy test which came back negative, although it turns out she was just over 1 month pregnant at the time. She was given the Depo injection.
Three months later she returned for the next injection, in September, 2011. She asked for a pregnancy test. She was told this was standard policy. She gave a urine sample, and waited for 45 minutes for the results. In her declaration, she claims:
"[The nurse] assured me that the pregnancy test had come back negative."Then she was given another Depo injection. She specifically asked about a host of pregnancy symptoms, and repeatedly expressed concern that she might be pregnant, but was assured by the PP nurse that her symptoms were side-effects of the contraceptive.
It wasn't until November when the woman did a series of home pregnancy tests that she found out she was pregnant. All of the tests came back positive. She was 6 months pregnant at this point.
Planned Parenthood has claimed that they were not required to provide a pregnancy test at the second, September visit. They have studiously managed to avoid explaining why the nurse told SJ that there was a negative pregnancy test result, leading to another Depo injection, when no test was actually done.
"Nobody Wanted to Touch It."
SJ had to go all the way to Everett to find an attorney who would take on Planned Parenthood. When we spoke with her attorney, Jenna Labourr of Labourr Law, Ms. Labourr told us that she had originally tried to find someone to co-counsel with her on the case. "But nobody wanted to touch it. Nobody wanted to touch it. Nobody wanted to go up against Planned Parenthood."
She added that at first, when they heard about the client and her situation, other attorneys initially expressed interest and willingness to help. But once she revealed who the defendant was, they all started backing out. She wasn't naive going into this, but noted that the response from other attorneys was "kind of a shock to me," because it was not an ideological case. Some have compared this phenomenon to the going up against The Mob.
Ms. Labourr said she took this case, which argues that Planned Parenthood is guilty of Medical Malpractice, Negligence, and "Lost Chance" -- not Wrongful Birth -- because Planned Parenthood was recklessly endangering this woman's body with their incompetence and indifference.
"I'm an activist for women's rights," Ms. Labourr told us. "I've never been a fan of Planned Parenthood. I've never sent women there. They don't care about their patients." Indeed, she has been involved in activism against sexual trafficking, serving on the staff of Human Rights Society, and has worked with Hope for Justice. She has done work helping victims of domestic violence, and even went to a law school that was originally founded as a law school for women. Normally Planned Parenthood seeks to destroy people who try to hold them accountable, smearing them as being "anti-woman". Good luck with that.
We asked Planned Parenthood why it is that nearly all the lawyers in Western Washington are scared of them, and if it was because of anything illegal. They declined to comment or respond to any of our inquiries. Ms. Labourr expressed concern about the health and safety of women going to get services from Planned Parenthood if they don't have any legal recourse in the event that PP causes them permanent harm, because they can't even find a lawyer.
Planned Parenthood didn't spare any expense and hired Rebecca Ringer, of Floyd, Pflueger and Ringer, an Ivy League trained attorney, known for successfully defending Big Health Care against claims from the battered and bruised.
Ms. Labourr knew she was taking on a giant with this case. She observed that PP used their seemingly bottomless reservoir of cash to file spurious motions and subpoenas, to mislead the judge with legal red herrings, trying to compel discovery of records they don't need, all to get her exhausted or to run out of funds.
Ms. Labourr said PP's attorney even "provided false information to the Court."
"They're not bound by any morality or even honor," explained Ms. Labourr. "They are ruthless, and will stop at nothing."
Ringer did not return our phone calls or emails requesting comment by press time.
Last month the Pierce County judge in the case granted Planned Parenthood's motion to dismiss the case. Ms. Labourr took it as a given that many judges in this state are in the pocket of Planned Parenthood, though she didn't accuse them of taking bribes. She was hoping that being in Pierce County -- and not King -- she might have a better chance of finding a fair judge.
But she observed that Judge Garold E. Johnson "had made up his mind before we got there. He wasn't willing to consider anything additional."
He decided, despite case law, that Ms. Labouur needed to provide input from a medical expert, but refused to give her 30 days to come up with one. He bent over backwards to accommodate Planned Parenthood's concerns and let them keep coming back to amend their complaint. "It was definitely stacked."
Ms. Labourr did win a motion to reconsider, and was going to file an appeal, but her client is exhausted and feels like there is no hope for justice against Planned Parenthood in this state. Score another round for Planned Parenthood in their War on Women.