Louisiana Judge tosses out suit to implant frozen embryos, cites lack of legal jurisdiction

By Dave Andrusko

When actress Sofia Vergara and Nick Loeb were a couple in 2013, they used IVF to create two embryos who were frozen.

“The couple at the time signed a contract at the ART Reproductive Center in Beverly Hills that stated neither could use the embryos without the other’s consent,” the New York Daily News’ Jessica Schladebeck reported. “They split a year later in May 2014.”

Vergara and her ex-fiancé have been locked in a contentious legal battle with Loeb saying he wishes to have the two embryos, whom he has named Emma and Isabella, implanted in a surrogate, while Vergara is demanding they remain frozen. The 41-year-old Loeb has said that he created trusts for them at the time.

On Friday, a Louisiana federal judge granted the 45-year-old Vergara’s motion to dismiss a suit brought by Loeb seeking full custody. According to Schladebeck, the judge “point[ed] out neither parent had ties to the state and that Loeb likely filed there due to Louisiana’s favorable legislation protecting the rights of the unborn children.”

Indeed, according to a report filed by TMZ, “The judge noted the case could require a Constitutional evaluation and called the embryos “citizens of California” where they were conceived.

Background

In April 2015, Loeb sued Vergara for custody of the female embryos to prevent their destruction. (Vergara insists she does not intend to destroy the two embryos.)

According to Eonline, “The documents argue that Vergara has ‘effectively abandoned and chronically neglected’ the embryos by ‘refusing to consent to their development or care.’”

That initial bid was dismissed by a judge last December, “but he followed up with the Louisiana right-to-live suit within the month,” according to the Daily News.

In February, Vergara filed a request in California asking for declaratory relief and a permanent injunction that blocks Loeb from obtaining the embryos without a written consent from her,” the Christian Post reported.

Now that Loeb’s challenge brought in Louisiana has been dismissed, “it is uncertain if Loeb plans to refile another lawsuit.”