In 2013, Modern Family actress Sofia Vergara and her then-fiancé, Nick Loeb, entered into an agreement to create two frozen pre-embryos. However, the couple ended their relationship in 2014 and in 2015, Vergara married actor Joe Manganiello.
In 2016, Vergara filed a lawsuit against Loeb, asking the court to rule that he could not attempt to bring the pre-embryos to term because doing so would be a breach of their 2013 contract which contained a provision stating that neither party could use the “cryopreserved material” without the other’s written consent.
Loeb’s defense attorneys argued that the contract the couple used was a “form directive” which should not be upheld by California courts because it did not address what would happen in the event the couple divorced or separated. Loeb also claimed that he and Vergara had an oral agreement that he could use the embryos with a gestational carrier, and that when he signed the 2013 contract, he did so under duress.
Vergara’s attorneys pointed out that she and Loeb had been through a prior round of in vitro fertilization so he was not in unfamiliar territory, and that he hadn’t provided any evidence that he was under duress to sign the agreement.
The judge sided with Vergara, ruling that the 2013 contract was valid and enforceable, and that Loeb was not under any duress when he signed it. The embryos, which are in cryonic storage at the ART Reproductive Center in Beverly Hills, will remain there unless both parties agree to their use.
Loeb filed a countersuit against Vergara in a Louisiana court, but the case was dismissed and Loeb lost an appeal on the dismissal.
The Surrogacy Law Center helps protect clients’ legal rights related to surrogacy, and to egg, sperm, and embryo donation. Contact us today to learn more!