Modern Family star Sofia Vergara has been sued on behalf of her fertilized eggs but according to legal experts the suit stands little chance of winning.
It’s been revealed that a right-to-live lawsuit was filed Tuesday in Lousiana on behalf of the frozen female embryos Vergara created with former fiancé Nick Loeb via in vitro fertilization in 2013. The two fertilized eggs have been named as plaintiffs “Emma” and “Isabella.”
Attorney Michael Stutman told Page Six he didn’t find much legal validity in the suit. “The Supreme Court long ago decided that to achieve the status of a protected human life, an embryo has to be able to survive on its own. With these embryos being unable to do that, they probably have as much legal protection to exist as your sofa,” he said.
Loeb previously sued Vergara in 2015 in an attempt to prevent her from destroying the embryos which were created before the pair split in May 2014. Loeb later revealed that the pair signed a document in which they agreed that the embryos could only be brought to term with the consent of both parties.
This latest suit contends that Loeb should be granted custody of the embryos so that they can be planted in a surrogate and brought to term and provided for by a trust set up for them in Louisiana. This last part is important as legally Louisiana is the only state in the country that considers frozen embryos “juridical persons,” which means they are granted the same legal rights as a corporation.
Loeb’s attorney, Mark Heller, stated that his client did not initiate the lawsuit, nor is he paying any legal fees. Heller went on to explain their legal argument from the California case:
“The agreement that Vergara points to is in violation under California law and is unenforceable, but what is enforceable is the following — and this is the heart of this case — when Nick and Sofía offered their sperm and their egg to create these embryos, they implicitly granted irrevocable rights of parenthood to the other… The position that I think will be validated, if we ever get to the US Supreme Court, is that once two individuals create a viable embryo, the law will say that embryo is on a path to life and is not chattle, a piece of property, but is on a path to a life on its own. The embryo is an entity that has a legal standing, and that is what this case is seeking to create.”
In a statement to Us Weekly, Vergara’s attorney, Fred Silberberg, said:
“Next week the judge presiding over the case was to rule on Ms. Vergara’s request for sanctions against Mr. Loeb for refusing to comply with a court order, and on her motion for summary judgment-seeking dismissal of the case he filed against her, attempting to get control of pre-embryos that he created with Vergara. That genetic material was created pursuant to a written agreement that required both parties written consent to attempt to create a pregnancy. Apparently Mr. Loeb and his counsel, knowing that he was about to lose, decided to attempt to save face by taking their proverbial ball and going home. Reports are out that Mr. Loeb has caused a lawsuit to be filed on behalf of the pre-embryos in Louisiana, essentially trying to get the same relief that he was trying to get through his failed legal attempt in California.
If these reports are true, this latest maneuver is nothing more than another attempt on the part of Loeb to keep himself in the public eye by keeping himself linked to Ms. Vergara. The media reports contend that Mr. Loeb has caused a lawsuit to be initiated claiming that the pre-embryos – which are not embryos, but rather frozen fertilized ova, have been given names by him and have a right to live. Loeb apparently thinks that he will garner sympathy from the public and the courts through this latest maneuver, one that we believe will also result in failure. It is unfortunate that Loeb feels the need to keep himself linked to Vergara, who is happily married, by taking up more of our overburdened courts resources, preventing judges from focusing on real legal problems. If it is really a family that Loeb wants, he should hire a surrogate and an egg donor and create one without dragging Vergara through another unnecessary legal battle.”
Vergara married True Blood actor Joe Manganiello in November 2015.