Montana AG seeks sanctions against abortionists for improper lawsuit

Montana AG seeks sanctions against abortionists for improper lawsuit

HELENA – Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen filed a motion for sanctions against Planned Parenthood, other abortionists, and their counsel Monday in state district court after they knowingly and intentionally violated the laws of Montana and disrespected the judiciary and Montana’s system of government by bringing a lawsuit against a bill that wasn’t law. The sanctions will serve as punishment for the plaintiffs’ wasteful and abusive litigation tactics and deter the future use of such tactics by other special interest groups seeking to commandeer the Montana courts for unconstitutional aims.

The abortionists’ lawsuit and temporary restraining order against House Bill 721 were filed even before the bill had been transmitted to the governor. Montana District Court Judge Kathy Seeley denied the plaintiffs’ motion for a temporary restraining order. The State’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit is currently pending.

“No reasonable attorney would contend that Montana law allows a party to file a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a bill before it is enacted. Because Plaintiffs plainly knew this suit was premature, the only logical conclusion is that it was filed for the improper purposes of interfering with the constitutional legislative process and initiating a public relations stunt,” the Attorney General’s Office wrote in the brief. “According to the Montana Constitution, the Legislature and the Governor must be free to exercise their constitutionally mandated legislative and executive powers without interference from the judiciary being commandeered by special interest groups thumbing their nose at the rule of law and the rules of civil procedure.”

Plaintiffs violated Montana Rule 11(b) by filing a frivolous complaint and request for a temporary restraining order that lacks merit, filing the lawsuit and request for improper purposes, and misrepresenting the appropriate standard of proof.

The sanctions requested include plaintiffs paying costs and attorneys’ fees incurred by the state, Continuing Legal Education courses through the State Bar of Montana on ethics in litigation for plaintiffs’ local counsel, and denying admission of the nearly dozen out-of-state attorneys who engaged in bringing this premature, frivolous, and improper lawsuit.

“Plaintiffs knew HB 721 was not law when they filed this action. They knew the Court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to adjudicate their claims. They knew there was no relief the Court could grant. There is no legitimate argument to be made that Plaintiffs relied in good faith on existing law or a nonfrivolous argument for extending, modifying, or reversing existing law,” the brief states.

House Speaker Matt Regier sponsored HB 721, which would prevent dismemberment abortions after 15 weeks. As the bill states, an unborn human being can open and close fingers, start to make sucking motions, sense stimulation from the world outside the womb, can likely experience pain, and, as the U.S. Supreme Court recognized in a 2007 decision, an unborn human being has taken on “the human form” in all relevant aspects at 12 weeks’ gestation.

To read the filings, click here.

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