In July 2012, the city of Burlington, Vermont passed an ordinance creating a 35-foot buffer zone around reproductive health facilities in the city. Six women who regularly gather to pray and protest at Planned Parenthood of Northern New England sued the city, and their lawyer is seeking records from Planned
Parenthood. But the organization says the request is intrusive and irrelevant to the court case.
The lawsuit filed in September 2012 claimed the ordinance passed by the city is unconstitutional and is not evenly applied. A federal judge upheld the law’s constitutionality, but allowed it to continue based on the “as-applied” challenge. The lawyer for the six plaintiffs, Hamden, Conn.-based Michael DePrimo, has now subpoenaed Planned Parenthood of Northern New England requesting documents pertaining to the job titles and duties of all employees at its Burlington health center.
Planned Parenthood of Northern New England attorney Claudine Safar says their concern over the subpoena is an issue of relevance.
Although the suit is against the city and not Planned Parenthood, DePrimo explains that the information aids his clients’ claim regarding viewpoint discrimination.
Attorney Safar says if someone is seeking discovery in a lawsuit, he or she must seek relevant information.
One of the six plaintiffs, South Burlington resident Agnes Clift, has been praying outside of Planned Parenthood for five years.
Burlington’s ordinance went into effect in August 2012. Attorney DiPrimo won a reproductive health center buffer zone case against West Palm Beach, Florida and is appealing a similar suit in Massachusetts.
Calls to the attorney representing the city of Burlington were not returned in time for this broadcast.