Abortion Clinic Takes Legal Action Over Lease

An abortion clinic that sought to open a Beverly Hills location is taking legal action against its landlord and the city after its lease at 8920 Wilshire Blvd. was canceled.

DuPont Clinic is alleging that its landlord Douglas Emmett and city officials colluded to delay and prevent the clinic from opening in response to pressure from anti-abortion activists.

On Aug. 14, the clinic filed a lawsuit against Douglas Emmett for improper termination of its lease and notified the city of its intent to also file a suit against them.

“DuPont chose to open its clinic in Beverly Hills because of the city’s support for abortion,” attorney Jessica Corpuz, who is representing DuPont, told the Courier. “Last year the Beverly Hills City Hall lit up in pink in protest of the overturning of Roe v. Wade, yet when faced with the opportunity to stand up for these ideals, the city and Douglas Emmett bowed to political pressure from anti-abortion extremists.”

The city denies involvement in Douglas Emmett’s decision to cancel the lease. “This was not a city of Beverly Hills decision,” Deputy City Manager Keith Sterling told the Courier.

A representative for Douglas Emmett declined to comment on the lawsuit and told the Courier that the company “has a well-established policy of refraining from discussing leasing matters with external entities.”

DuPont initially signed a lease with Douglas Emmett to open a clinic at 8920 Wilshire Blvd., Ste. 635 in September 2022. It proceeded to carry out extensive and expensive renovations with the goal of opening in October 2023.

DuPont intended to provide similar reproductive health services to those already offered at its Washington D.C. location, which has been in operation since 2017. This includes the placement of intrauterine devices (IUDs), diagnosis of ectopic pregnancies, provision of abortion pills and clinical abortion procedures.

The abortion services—during the third trimester in particular—provoked backlash from anti-abortion groups.

In late 2022, the Los Angeles chapter of Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust began holding regular protests outside of the proposed clinic location. In April 2023, they started attending City Council meetings and urging council members to deny DuPont permits to operate.

DuPont alleges that these actions prompted the city to place a hold on the clinic’s permits, a claim the city denies.

“In a shocking concession to these protestors, especially given the city’s prior public statements regarding abortion rights, in April 2023, the city actively and intentionally acted to withhold DuPont’s permits for the premises,” states Corpuz in the Aug. 14 letter notifying the city of DuPont’s intent to sue.

Sterling told the Courier that “the permits were issued in April after our attorneys confirmed the services to be offered were in compliance with state law.”

DuPont alleges that city officials then held “secret meetings” with anti-abortion activists and made a promise to stop the clinic from opening.

As evidence, DuPont’s legal team points to a speech made by Tim Clement, director of outreach of anti-abortion group Survivors LA, at a July 29 protest.

“We had a meeting and everything is supposed to be hush—like, I can’t talk about it. But we came to an arrangement,” said Clement, according to DuPont’s letter to the city.

Sterling said that the meeting with Clement was a simple phone conversation on July 26, during which city officials notified Clement that the clinic’s lease had been rescinded by its landlord.

DuPont Clinic received a letter on June 12 from an attorney representing Douglas Emmett notifying them of the decision to rescind the lease. That letter alleges that DuPont failed to notify Douglas Emmet that “the primary focus of tenant’s practice would be providing abortions for abnormal and high-risk pregnancies including what are commonly referred to as late-term abortions.”

The letter also alleges that DuPont failed to notify the landlord of protests at its D.C. location and cites concerns that similar actions at the Beverly Hills location will disturb other tenants in the building.

DuPont, however, alleges that Douglas Emmett “baselessly” rescinded the lease agreement in response to pressure from anti-abortion activists. DuPont filed its lawsuit against Douglas Emmett in the Superior Court of Los Angeles and is seeking compensatory, punitive and exemplary damages and to have the cost of its lawsuit recovered.