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Bristol’s only abortion clinic being sued by its landlords

Wellness GM / Flickr, Creative Commons: flickr.com/photos/130100316@N04/15728773073/

The only abortion clinic in Bristol, Virginia is being sued by its landlords.

According to a lawsuit filed in circuit court last month, property owners Chase and Chadwick King of Kilo Delta LLC claim they weren’t aware abortions would be performed on the property when they agreed to rent to Bristol Women’s Health. According to the suit, the landlords want to stop the lease immediately.

In the lawsuit, plaintiffs claim they were misled when a realtor, acting on behalf of the clinic’s owners, claimed the building would be used as a “medical clinic.”

One of the clinic’s owners, Diane Derzis said she didn’t intentionally conceal her intentions when she rented the property over six months ago.

“It’s just absolutely ridiculous. We paid a year’s rent up front, which they were only too happy to take,” Derzis said.

She added that they have put thousands of dollars toward updating and remodeling the property.

The clinic moved across state lines from Bristol, Tennessee to Virginia last summer after a Tennessee law that bans all abortions went into effect.

Derzis was the owner of another abortion clinic in Jackson, Mississippi that was at the center of the case last year when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

She said her name is relatively well-known, and the property owners could easily have learned who she was before signing the lease.

“These guys didn’t do their due diligence. I’ve been doing this 47 years,” Derzis said.

In the lawsuit, plaintiffs claim to have suffered “humiliation within their social and business circles” as a result of renting to the clinic.

Back in October, city council members in Bristol, Virginia voted unanimously to ban any additional abortion clinics from opening within city limits, though some people have questioned the legality of the ordinance.

Derzis said she plans to file a response to the lawsuit by the end of this week and is hopeful the clinic will remain open in its current location.

Radio IQ reached out to the plaintiff in the case, Kilo Delta LLC and the attorney representing the company, but did not hear back in time for this story.

Roxy Todd is Radio IQ's New River Valley Bureau Chief.