The 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in California has re-instated a fraud case against Planned Parenthood.
The decision revives a 2005 lawsuit by former Planned Parenthood employee P. Victor Gonzalez alleging the clinic over-charged the state and federal governments for re-imbursement of birth control drug costs to the tune of $180 million.
According to the False Claims Act, government contractors are not allowed to submit "false or fraudulent" claims for repayment.
"While this case is by no means over, winning this appeal means we can now get down to the heart of this case: the alleged fraud," Jay Sekulow, chief counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice, said.
The three-judge panel unanimously reversed a lower court's decision that Gonzalez did not qualify as a whistleblower since he was not an "original source" and thus had no legal standing to file the lawsuit.
However, ACLJ lawyers contended in a 69 page-brief that because Gonzalez - who served as the former vice-president for finance and administration of Planned Parenthood-Los Angeles - had intimate knowledge of the defendant's illegal activities, he did qualify as an original source.
"As part of an inner circle of high-ranking officers at PP affiliates, Gonzalez from the get-go observed, indeed participated in, the intra-PP response to the DHS audit," ACLJ attorneys representing Gonzalez wrote.
The ACLJ also noted that Gonzalez was personally responsible for reviewing the records regarding the extent of Planned Parenthood's overbilling.
"The question on appeal was whether the former Planned Parenthood employee is a proper whistleblower under the False Claims Act," Sekulow said during his remarks Friday. "We contended that the answer is yes, and now a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit has unanimously agreed with us."
Rita Diller, the national director of American Life League's Stop Planned Parenthood Project, talked more about the case on CBN News' Midday program. Check back at CBNNews.com after 1 p.m. EDT to watch the interview.