The city of Beverly Hills and several city officials have been named in a lawsuit regarding an abortion clinic that was slated to open in the city. The case, DuPont Clinic, PC, a California professional corporation, et. al. v. City of Beverly Hills, also names as defendants Mayor Dr. Julian Gold, City Manager Nancy Hunt-Coffey, Deputy City Manager Keith Sterling, City Attorney Laurence Weiner and Chief of Police Mark Stainbrook.
The complaint alleges causes of action for inducing breach of contract, interference with contractual and economic relations and misrepresentation, among others. It seeks both compensatory and punitive damages.
At press time, the city informed the Courier that it had not had a chance to review the complaint served against it. The lawsuit is but one aspect of the controversy surrounding the clinic’s opening. In August, DuPont filed a separate lawsuit against the building landlord Douglas Emmett, alleging that its lease to operate the clinic at 8920 Wilshire Blvd. was improperly terminated.
In September, the Office of the Attorney General of the State of California served an investigative subpoena on the city, seeking responses to an extensive list of interrogatories and document production requests pertaining to the city’s involvement in the matter of “Reproductive Clinic Openings in Beverly Hills.”
As previously reported by the Courier, DuPont alleges that both the landlord and the city were unduly swayed by protests from pro-life interests, in particular, a group known as “Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust.”
DuPont claims in the lawsuit filed against the city that “The city and Douglas Emmett have colluded together in the face of political pressure of the anti-abortion community instead of protecting DuPont and the right to abortion enshrined in the California Constitution.”
It continues, “The city and Douglas Emmetts’ actions have not only harmed DuPont, they have directly harmed thousands of women who will be unable to access critical health care because DuPont Clinic will not be able to help them.”
Prior to the filing of a lawsuit against the city, the controversy over the clinic had already prompted an outpouring of anger from pro-choice advocates in Beverly Hills and beyond.
A group of residents organizing under the name Beverly Hills for Choice has flooded public comment during City Council meetings and also launched a Change.org petition in support of DuPont.
“I’m here today to stand up and protect the bodily autonomy of all women present and future. This is healthcare pure and simple,” said Lucy Stutz during the Oct. 3 City Council meeting. “I expect the City Council to stand up to extremists that mostly come from outside our community and reinstate the lease for the DuPont clinic.”
In addition to asking for the lease to be reinstated, the Change.org petition also calls for the city to launch an investigation into communications among city officials, the Beverly Hills Police Department, Douglas Emmett, and anti-abortion groups.
“Mayor Gold, you and other representatives apparently met with the anti-abortion group,” said Andrea Grossman. “Why didn’t you and city management say, ‘We’re validly pro-choice, abortion is legal here in California, so this business has a right to be here?’”
This is a developing story which will be updated as facts unfold.