Sofia Vergara went into the weekend with a big legal victory under her belt.
“Modern Family” actress Vergara scored a win in the battle with her ex, Nick Loeb, after a judge granted the actress’ motion to dismiss the lawsuit brought against her over her frozen embryos.
On Friday, a federal judge in Louisiana dismissed the case on jurisdictional grounds, finding that Vergara “is not subject to specific jurisdiction in Louisiana.”
“Plaintiffs’ claims against Vergara stem from the IVF procedure and related contracts that Vergara and Loeb entered into in California,” federal judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon wrote in her decision Friday. “Conversations that allegedly occurred in Louisiana regarding the pre-embryos do not establish minimum contacts by Vergara of purposefully availing herself of the privilege of conducting activities within the forum State, thus invoking the benefits and protections of its laws.”
In December, as part of a protracted battle between Vergara and Loeb over the custody of the frozen embryos, the actress was sued by two of the embryos resulting from her relationship with Loeb.
In the suit, filed in district court in Louisiana, the human embryos — identified as “Emma” and “Isabella” — claimed that their expected inheritance was being “blocked” by “Vergara’s refusal to allow them to be transferred to a uterus so they may continue to develop and be born as was intended for them by both their natural parents, Nick Loeb and Vergara, as is mandated by Louisiana law, and as is in their best interests.”
“Therefore, Emma and Isabella seek that they be entrusted to their natural father Loeb, who is willing and desirous that they be born and become eligible to receive their inheritance,” the lawsuit continued.
The suit contended that the embryos were conceived in November 2013 via in vitro fertilization, but “from May 13, 2014, Vergara has refused to consent to the continued development of her daughters Emma and Isabella, leaving them suspended in a frozen stasis of suspended animation.”
The suit claimed that Loeb is “committed to protect his children and believes that life begins at conception,” and that Vergara had told Loeb “that she was a devout Catholic and, like Loeb, was committed to protect their children and believed that life begins at conception and should not be destroyed.”
However, the suit contended, “leaving Emma and Isabella preserved indefinitely is tantamount to their destruction and death because it is unclear how long frozen embryos can remain viable.”
The fate of the embryos has been a source of contention between Loeb and Vergara, with Loeb writing in a New York Times essay in 2015, “Many have asked me: Why not just move on and have a family of your own? I have every intention of doing so. But that doesn’t mean I should let the two lives I have already created be destroyed or sit in a freezer until the end of time.”
In a statement to TheWrap in December, Vergara’s attorney, Fred Silberberg, said the lawsuit “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,” Silberberg continued.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.