MoFo News Item

Northern District of California Grants Permanent Injunction for National Abortion Federation

07 Apr 2021

Judge William H. Orrick III granted National Abortion Federation’s (NAF) motion for summary judgment on its breach of contract claim and entered a permanent injunction preventing the release of videos unlawfully obtained by anti-abortion extremists.

“It has been a privilege to represent NAF in this long-running suit and we are pleased to have obtained a permanent injunction as a result,” said Morrison & Foerster San Francisco Commercial Litigation + Trial partner Derek Foran, who has led the team since the case’s inception in July 2015.

Morrison & Foerster filed suit on behalf of NAF in July 2015 after defendants assumed fake identities, broke into NAF’s meetings, videotaped attendees, and published misleadingly edited videos claiming to show attendees discussing the sale of fetal tissue. On February 5, 2016, the firm secured a preliminary injunction against publishing the videos since the defendants signed confidentiality agreements prior to entering the meeting. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the preliminary injunction in March 2017. After two of the defendants’ lawyers violated the preliminary injunction in May 2017, the team obtained civil contempt sanctions of $195,000 plus interest.

NAF filed its motion for summary judgment on its breach of contract claim and entry of a permanent injunction in October 2020. Judge Orrick found that NAF was entitled to summary judgment on its breach of contract claim because defendants were issue precluded by a judgment in a related case brought by Planned Parenthood, in which defendants were found as a matter of law to have breached confidentiality agreements with NAF. Judge Orrick found NAF was entitled to a permanent injunction preventing release of the videos because past releases of those videos resulted in harassment, threats, and violence directed at NAF, its members, and abortion providers generally. The defendants are required to leave the enjoined materials in the custody of their lawyers while they separately face criminal prosecution by the state of California for violating California’s two-party taping consent laws.

In addition to Derek, the Morrison & Foerster pro bono team representing NAF included San Francisco partner James Sigel and associates Spencer McManus, Karen Leung, Randy Zack, Christina Dierolf, and Mason Willis.

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