Defendant Expected to Represent Himself in Court As More Victims Come Forward
WHAT: Oral arguments will be heard regarding plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction against William Graham. Choice, Inc. v. Graham is a federal lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana brought by the Center for Reproductive Rights, Morrison & Foerster LLP, and local counsel Rittenberg and Samuel on behalf of Causeway Medical Clinic, Dr. James DeGueurce, his patients and women victimized by Graham.
Plaintiffs: Causeway Medical Clinic, Dr. James DeGueurce and his patients, Priscilla Cabrera and two other women
Defendant: William Graham
WHEN: Wednesday, August 4, 2004 at 9:30 a.m. (Central Time)
WHERE: 500 Poydras Street, New Orleans, LA in Judge Stanwood R. Duval’s courtroom, Room C352
WHY: Suzanne Novak from the Center for Reproductive Rights and Jamie Levitt of Morrison & Foerster LLP will present plaintiffs’ arguments in favor of the court granting a preliminary injunction against William Graham’s operation.
Graham is expected to argue on his behalf.
UPDATE AND BACKGROUND
The lawsuit was filed on June 7, 2004. Since that time, a dozen women have contacted the Center and Causeway with stories of being victimized by William Graham.
For at least a decade, Graham has falsely advertised in the phone book as an abortion referral service, co-opting the name of Causeway Medical Clinic, a well-known abortion provider in New Orleans. Once a woman contacts him, he claims to set up a doctor’s “appointment,” then repeatedly “reschedules” it. He then strings his victim along for weeks and sometimes months, intending to deceive her past the time for a legal abortion.
Graham’s victims have suffered extreme mental anguish either by not being able to exercise their right to choose or by riding an emotional rollercoaster, not knowing when or if they would be able to terminate their pregnancies.
A number of the women who have recently come forward were forced to carry their pregnancies to term. One woman became pregnant as the result of a date rape. Another was forced to stop working because a medical condition made her pregnancy high risk. Now she must remain on complete bed rest.
Elizabeth Nette and her 19-year-old daughter, Mary Schloegel, contacted the Center after reading about the lawsuit in the newspaper. Graham had cancelled and rescheduled appointments for Schloegel for six weeks. It wasn’t until Nette mistakenly called the legitimate Causeway Medical Center that she realized they had been tricked. But by then, the abortion was too expensive for the family to afford.
“My daughter and I were and continue to be very angry about what Mr. Graham did to us. My daughter is not ready to have a baby. He’s taken a part of my daughter’s life away from her by taking it into his own hands to decide whether and when she would have a child. This man needs to be stopped,” Nette said.
The lawsuit accuses Graham of intentionally interfering with women’s efforts to exercise their constitutional right to obtain an abortion through false advertising, trademark infringement, fraud, and emotional manipulation. The plaintiffs are seeking to file a class action suit.
For more information on clinic access and intimidation of abortion providers, see our Clinic Access and Face Laws section.