SAN FRANCISCO, September 7, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A California appeals court reduced the punitive damages a confrontationalÂanti-abortion group must pay to a coalition of abortionists and their Planned Parenthood affiliates to $4.73 million, down from the original $108 million originally awarded after a jury in the 1999 case found the American Coalition of Life Activists guilty of inciting violence.
The case involved a campaign initiated by several anti-abortion individuals that sought information on abortionists who were suspected of injuring patients. Posters drawn up for the information gathering campaign looked like “wanted” posters and gave rise to the lawsuit by Planned Parenthood and other abortionists. While the former ruling suggested the posters incited violence against the abortionists, the case did not involve any stated threats.
The group’s Thomas More Law Center attorney, Ed White, argued, “They were exercising their First Amendment rights.”
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the punitive damages were far in excess of the Supreme Court precedent that limited damages to no more than nine times the monetary losses, originally awarded at $526,334.